Media release: 14 December 2021
Works advanced this morning to establish the construction site for the National Erebus Memorial, Te Paerangi Ataata, in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, said Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Executive, Bernadette Cavanagh.
"Early this morning, contractors arrived at Taurarua / Dove-Myer Robinson Park. I am pleased contractors were able to access the site in a safe and peaceful manner today.
"Ensuring the health and safety of everyone at the park has been a top priority. Accessing the site during the early hours of the morning helped minimise the health and safety risk to our contractors, as well as to protestors and the community.
"Manatū Taonga remains firmly committed to establishing the site and getting work on the National Erebus Memorial underway. As always, my thoughts are with the families and friends of the 257 people who died in the Erebus tragedy. They remain at the heart of our continued mahi to create the memorial.
"My thoughts are also with those who took part in the recovery operation in Antarctica as part of Operation Overdue, in particular the former colleagues, friends and whānau of retired Inspector Greg Gilpin MNZM, who passed away recently.
"Greg was a strong supporter of the memorial project. I know his passing has been felt keenly by many of those involved in Operation Overdue and by a number of Erebus families, who he met and supported in the years following.
"I look forward to site establishment works progressing at the park. I remain confident in the integrity of the processes around the National Erebus Memorial. The environmental, cultural and heritage values of the park will be properly respected and protected.
"The notable pōhutukawa tree will not be harmed by the establishment of the memorial. It is safe, and will continue to be kept safe, throughout the construction of the memorial and beyond.
"Independent arborists have reviewed the plans and have concluded the memorial poses no risk to the tree. I am confident the tree will remain a protected and well-loved pillar of the community for many years to come.
"On cultural matters we continue to be guided by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust, whose rohe the memorial site is within. We remain grateful for the support of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, particularly their support for Erebus families.
To find out more about the history of the Erebus accident and keep up to date on the project through the Ministry's website: www.mch.govt.nz/erebus-memorial
Updated on 14th December 2021