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New Zealand to build walkway as plane crash memorial

8 Apr 19 The design has been chosen for a New Zealand memorial structure that will commemorate a sightseeing flight that crashed 40 years ago, killing all 257 people on board.

On the morning of 28th November 1979, Air New Zealand Flight TE901 left Auckland for an 11-hour round trip sightseeing flight to Antarctica. It crashed into the lower slopes of Mt Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica, killing all 257 passengers and crew.

The National Erebus Memorial will take the form of walkway projecting outward to the horizon, in line with the recommendation of a design selection panel, announced prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

“I’m pleased to announce the design Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song, by Wellington firm Studio Pacific Architecture jointly with designer and artist Jason O’Hara and musician Warren Maxwell, has been selected,” said Ardern. “The design reflects the enormity of the tragedy and provides a strong sense of connection and loss. The design has a strong narrative to engage visitors and provides a sanctuary within its walls, evoking the great emptiness experienced for those who lost their lives.

“As the memorial is created, some 257 stainless steel snowflakes will be cut out and given to the families, connecting them to the site and providing a symbolic keepsake that can be passed on to others.”

The design was chosen after feedback from family members of those who died, those who worked on the recovery operation and in consultation with Auckland Council.

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“My sincere thanks to everyone involved in the process to select the design; we had some fantastic submissions,” said Ardern. “Planning for the memorial’s construction can now begin with the unveiling timed for May 2020.”

Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the progress being made on building the memorial and said it was long overdue. “With Flight 901 having left from Auckland and many of those on board residents from our city, it is appropriate for the memorial to be built here.”

He added: “The memorial in Dove-Myer Robinson Park, overlooking the Waitematā, is in a beautiful setting, which I hope will provide comfort and solace to those who lost family and friends on Erebus.”


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