Erebus memorial scrapped at Taurarua / Dove-Myer Robinson Park

The Ministry of Culture has scrapped the controversial Erebus plane crash memorial at Taurarua / Dove-Myer Robinson Park in Tāmaki Makaurau.

The ministry blames the extreme weather events in Auckland over recent months, saying it will find another location.

"Following unprecedented and extreme weather in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland earlier this year, and the significant damage to the coastline near the site for the memorial, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage commissioned updated geotechnical engineering advice to ensure the design of the memorial is appropriate both now, and in the future." Culture and Heritage chief executive Laulu Mac Leauanae said.

"The updated advice shows that building the memorial at the Taurarua / Dove-Myer Robinson Park is no longer suitable or safe for the long term," Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae says.

While the memorial had support from the governing boards of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust and Auckland Council, it had proved unpopular with many Māori leaders and Pākehā activists who had occupied the area since 2021 to prevent the start of construction.

Dame Rangimārie Naida Glavish (Ngāti Whātua), a member of the Māori Heritage Council opposed the site's proximity to the former Mataharehare Pā site, and the environmental impact of the $3.5 million concrete structure.

The threat to roots of a 180-year-old pōhutukawa tree, and the fact that the park has no association with the tragedy, were also of concern.

"I question the validity of the information given to Ōrākei marae for approval," she said in 2021, referring to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga saying Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei expressed support for the project.

"We've spoken to kaumātua who live in Ōkahu Bay and live next to Mataharehare who are not happy with what will be a huge monstrosity that looks like a flight path in the middle of a park," Glavish said.

Laulu Mac Leauanae says today's announcement has been tough for whānau who have waited 44 years for a memorial.

"While this setback is undoubtedly difficult to hear, we remain committed to realising the memorial and will be taking time to carefully consider what the next steps will be," Laulu Mac Leauanae said

"I am speaking directly to the Erebus families when I say that despite this setback, my team at Manatū Taonga and I are absolutely and resolutely committed to securing a home for the National Erebus Memorial that endures for present and future generations of New Zealanders,"

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