National War Memorial to be restored

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New Zealand’s National War Memorial, including its iconic Carillon in Wellington, is set to undergo a big restoration.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage announced a $9.5 million earthquake strengthening project to ensure the safety and preservation of this historical landmark.

The Carillon, a 50-meter tall art deco tower built in 1932 and a striking feature of Wellington’s skyline, has been closed for the past four years due to earthquake safety concerns.

Housing 74 bronze bells, ranging from a few kilograms to several tonnes, the Carillon was once a regularly played musical feature of the city. Unfortunately, due to its location in earthquake-prone Wellington, safety risks had halted its use and delayed restoration efforts.

The revitalisation project, confirmed by a ministry newsletter, is scheduled to start next week, just after Anzac Day, to avoid disrupting the commemorations.

The restoration is expected to take about 18 months, aiming to reopen the Carillon by the 2026 Anzac Day services. This project is part of a broader effort in Wellington to address seismic safety in many of its historic buildings. The Wellington Town Hall is another notable example, facing its own costly restoration challenges.

The Carillon’s project will be fully funded by the government, with costs accommodated within the ministry’s existing budget.

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