Final design for new British memorial in Wellington revealed using virtual reality
After years of planning and more than 13,000 work hours, the design for a new British war memorial in Wellington has been revealed, just days before its official unveiling.
The large tree structure, which will stand at almost five metres tall once it's installed in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, was designed and constructed by Weta Workshop at the request of the British high commission.
"We want to commemorate all those Brits and New Zealanders who lost their lives in conflicts around the world, so it's our gift to the New Zealand people," acting high commissioner Catherine Allum said on Thursday.
"We wanted to demonstrate that there is a strong and enduring relationship between the UK and New Zealand, through this memorial design."
* UK politician Boris Johnson to visit New Zealand
* Govt spends $20m on WWI arts and culture
* Turkish WWI memorial unveiled at Pukeahu in Wellington
* With May on thin ice, could Boris be PM?
The deadline for the memorial had to be pushed ahead by a few weeks, to accommodate British foreign secretary Boris Johnson's visit to New Zealand next week.
While the memorial will not be on site until the weekend, a virtual reality (VR) simulation has been created to show what it will look like.
Allum, who has yet to see the structure, said the VR unveiling was an "innovative and fun" way to see it brought to life.
"You don't get Weta involved without expecting something special to come out at the end, and we're really pleased with the final design."
The memorial is made from steel, bronze and polycarbonates and weighs two and a half tonnes, making it one of the largest sculptures Weta Workshop has created.
Several students from Wellington's Massey University and the Wimbledon College of Arts in London also assisted with the design process.
Lead designer Rebekah Tisch said the design was a way of showing how the two countries worked together in the past during times of conflict.
It takes the form of two of Britain and New Zealand's best-known trees, the royal oak and the pohutukawa, intertwining to form one leafy canopy, with the silhouette of a soldier between them.
Manufacture supervisor Andrew Durno said the multicoloured canopy would be lit at night from underneath, and by the sun during the day.
"It's like being in a church with a stained glass window when the light comes in," Tisch said.
Johnson will officially unveil the memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on Monday.