The New Zealand Memorial in London’s Hyde Park Corner was built to mark a space for the commemoration and celebration of New Zealand and Britain’s war-time and peace-time relationship and as a reminder of the special bond between New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It was unveiled in 2006, so it is quite a recent memorial.
In particular, the memorial has become a focus for Anzac Day commemorations in London each year, which takes place on the 25th April annually, and is a solemn public holiday in which New Zealand honours the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).
The ANZACS were soldiers who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. In Australia and New Zealand, Anzac Day commemoration features “Dawn Services” or “Dawn Marches” and people get up very very early before the sun rises, to remember those who died in battle.
The memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London is called ‘Southern Stand’. It is made up of 16 bronze sculptures of varying heights set out in formation across a grassy slope in Hyde Park Corner. It was designed by architect John Hardwick-Smith and sculptor Paul Dibble. War
Paul Dibble’s wife and assistant Fran Dibble explains that the individual ‘standards’ are “made to stand in semi-grid formation calling to mind soldiers in procession, … Pouwhenua markers around Māori ancestral sites, or Celtic remains” like standing stones. The forward-leaning angle of the standards gives them a defiant pose “reminiscent of warriors during haka, the defensive bat in cricket, and the barrel of a shouldered gun”.
Six standards are positioned beyond the main group and are arranged to form the shape of the Southern Cross constellation, one of the main star constellations that can be viewed from New Zealand skies.
At night, the tops of the standards are lit up so that the crosses appear like the Southern Cross, and show the way south to New Zealand. So if you are a Kiwi Kid Abroad that ever wants to know the direction you need to take to fly home, this is a good place to visit.