Media release: 28 March 2022
The completion of an investigation into complaints received by the Chief Ombudsman about aspects of the National Erebus Memorial has been welcomed by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Bernadette Cavanagh, Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive.
"Manatū Taonga has fully supported the Office of the Ombudsman during this investigation.
"Ministry officials are carefully considering the report and recommendation and will respond to the Ombudsman as quickly as possible.
"We know that the protection of the notable pōhutukawa tree near the memorial has been a priority for the community. I am pleased that the Ombudsman has acknowledged the significant steps taken to protect the tree to ensure it will not be harmed by construction of the memorial."
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, tangata whenua of Taurarua, have reiterated their support for the memorial.
"The findings announced today indicate that construction of the memorial can, and should, continue. This will be welcomed by the families and friends of those who lost loved ones. After more than 42 years since the Erebus tragedy, it is time for construction of this important national memorial to proceed.
"The Ombudsman has recommended that, before construction begins, the Ministry takes reasonable steps to engage with opponents of the memorial to attempt to resolve their sense of grievance. Ministry officials have already commenced dialogue with the opponents of the memorial.
"I remain confident that correct and proper processes have been followed to select the National Erebus Memorial design, and that the environmental, cultural and heritage values of the park will be properly respected and protected.
"The report found that a more thorough process could have been undertaken to select the site in 2018 but acknowledges that considerable consultation took place following the selection. Importantly, the Ombudsman found that the Ministry’s selection of the site was not wrong.
"While the process the Ministry undertook followed practice established over decades, we appreciate the Ombudsman’s comments and will take these into account in the future.
"As always, my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their loved ones in the Erebus tragedy, many of whom wish the memorial to be built as soon as possible," said Bernadette Cavanagh.
Updated on 28th March 2022