Letter from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage

Hello everyone

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the creation of a National Erebus Memorial. I am writing to give you an update on the project. 

Within the next three weeks you will be emailed a survey form from Colmar Brunton, seeking your input on aspects of the Memorial. Please let us know immediately if you don’t want us to release your email address to Colmar Brunton for this purpose – the company will of course treat the information in absolute confidence.

We very much look forward to receiving the results of the survey, and using them to inform the decisions around site selection and the design brief.  We are making preliminary inquiries regarding available sites, and will let you know of developments as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we’ve also contracted external memorial project management specialists The Building Intelligence Group (the people we worked with on the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial) to provide assistance with planning and executing some of the memorial development work.  We’re really pleased to have TBIG’s assistance at this point.  

One piece of very direct advice we received from TBIG was around the timeframe for creating the Memorial.  TBIG considers that aiming to get the Memorial finished by November 2019 is too ambitious, given the need for meaningful consultation and high quality governance, site evaluation, design development (including a competition), consenting, and building. We have carefully analysed each stage of the process, and agree with that assessment. 

You will know, of course, that the Prime Minister is committed to seeing the Memorial in place as soon as possible; she had thought dedicating it on the 40th anniversary of the accident would be very appropriate. But her response to our advice that this would be difficult to achieve without compromising the outcome was that it is absolutely essential that we get this right.  

As a result we now expect to dedicate the Memorial in the first half of 2020, and will be looking to mark the 40th anniversary in some other, special, way connected with the creation of the Memorial.

We do recognise that this will be disappointing to some of you, but hope that you will understand that it is done with the intention of preserving the integrity of the project.  

At time of writing, advice from the Prime Minister’s office confirms her intent to meet with family representatives as soon as she can.  We’ll get back to you with a likely date.  

If you have any questions in the meantime please feel free to get in contact via email at erebus@mch.govt.nz, or by ringing Principal Adviser Sarah Ingram on 027 6551132.


With best wishes

Paul James Chief Executive
Manatū Taonga - Ministry for Culture and Heritage
Promoting a confident and connected culture
Public Trust Building, Cnr of Lambton Quay and Stout Street, Wellington
P O Box 5364, Wellington, New Zealand
Mob +64 27 655 1132 Fax +64 4 499 4490