New Plymouth War Memorial Hall

Governor-General Viscount Cobham formally opened the New Plymouth War Memorial Hall on 14 July 1960. The building, designed by Edgar Collins of Taylor & Collins, also housed the city’s library and museum. The war memorial feature in the Ariki Street entrance foyer and staircase incorporated a display wall of dark green Italian breccia with bronze lettering that read IN HONOURED MEMORY / OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES / FOR THEIR COUNTRY. It also featured an etched glass panel designed by the New Zealand artist E. Mervyn Taylor.

A major project to integrate the library, museum, and visitor information centre led to the opening of Puke Ariki on 14 June 2003. The library is based in the remodelled south wing of Puke Ariki. The war memorial feature remains in its original location in the stairwell of the former Ariki Street entrance.

During the reconstruction, some minor alterations were made to the memorial, including the installation of a display screen and glass display cases.

See: ‘New Plymouth memorial: planning creates a masterpiece’, NZ Herald, 18/5/1960; New Plymouth had book club in 1847’, Taranaki Herald, 13/7/1960; Kete New Plymouth, ‘Puke Ariki WWII Memorial Feature’ and ‘Puke Ariki (South Wing)’ (give access to facsimile documents such as Official Opening of War Memorial Hall, Library and Museum Building [programme], 1960; New Plymouth War Memorial Hall Inaugural Season: Souvenir Programme, 1960; etc.); James Bryan, E. Mervyn Taylor, Artist: Craftsman, 2006, pp. 125-6.

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