In a beautiful art deco setting, learn about defining times in New Zealand's history and discover a huge musical bell instrument.
The art deco architecture of this striking building draws the visitor towards poignant memories of bravery and loss of life. The fifty-metre high memorial is home to the Hall of Memories, a carillon (huge musical bell instrument) and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
The Hall of Memories contains six memorial alcoves, designed as small side chapels. Each chapel is dedicated to a different branch of the New Zealand Armed Forces. At the far end of the central area is a bronze sculpture of a woman holding her family together, in the absence of her partner on active service.
The carillon is the third largest by weight in the world and the only carillon in New Zealand. The cast bronze bells range from 13 kilograms to 12.5 tonnes each, with a total weight of 70.5 tonnes. With 74 bells spanning six octaves, the carillon delights audiences with more than 200 hours of live concerts each year. Carillon bells are tuned chromatically; when rung together they produce a wide range of concordant harmonic effects. Originating from Belgium, the Netherlands and northern France, many carillons were confiscated and melted down for armaments in World War I & hence their peace time resurgence and association with war memorials.
The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior holds pride of place on the entrance steps to the memorial. Its design, inspired by the Southern Cross constellation, possesses a distinctive New Zealand character. Completed in November 2004, the tomb is the resting place of the remains of an unknown New Zealand soldier, repatriated from a First World War cemetery in the Somme region of France. With name, rank, regiment, race, religion and other details unknown, the soldier represents and honours all New Zealanders who became lost to their families in war.