Belgian Memorial – Pukeahu Park

Two people approach steel sculpture holding a wreath of flowers.

To mark the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October 2017, the Belgian Memorial was unveiled at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in the presence of Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand, and Mr Marc Mullie, Ambassador of Belgium.

Man in suit and jacket holding stones in his hands above hole in the ground

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Belgian Ambassador Marc Mullie placing mauri stones at the site of the Belgian Memorial.

Earlier ceremonies saw Didier Reynders, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs attend a site blessing ceremony followed by outgoing Belgian Ambassador Jean-Luc Bodson breaking the ground at the location of the memorial. Mauri stones and soil from Belgium were placed into the ground by Ambassador Mullie in September 2017.

The memorial recognises the enduring bonds between Belgium and New Zealand created on the battlefields and through humanitarian efforts during the First World War. It also reflects the shared sacrifice and hardship in times of conflict and remembers the thousands of graves of New Zealand servicemen who lie in Belgian soil. The ongoing relationship between New Zealand and Belgium is based on our common values and strong commitments to peace, security, and multilateralism.


The memorial was designed by well-known Belgian artists Niko Van Stichel and Lut Vandebos. It combines the laurel wreath, a traditional symbol of victory, with the memorial wreath, traditionally used as a tribute to those who have died in battle. The 'Flanders Field' poppy and New Zealand foliage are incorporated at the centre of wreath. The underlying message of the memorial highlights the ambiguity of war and the losses incurred on all sides. A similar sculpture is installed in East Flanders, Belgium.

People placing red poppies on steel sculpture

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage/Mark Tantrum Photography

People placing poppies on the Belgian Memorial.

The sculpture is rendered in Corten steel, which naturally weathers to create a bronzed effect while providing long-term protection from the elements. The wreath appears to sit directly on the grass; the simplicity of this landscaping is intentional, to increase accessibility and enhance the impression created by the delicate and intricate steel leaf design.

More information

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park – Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage

1917: Arras, Messines and Passchendaele – NZHistory

Western Front, 1916 to 1917 – Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

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