Peace Memorial Arch Restored

The Parish of Pukekohe’s historic peace memorial arch, destroyed by a delivery truck four years ago, has at last been rebuilt.

The arch, which is beside St Andrew’s church on the corner of Queen Street and Wesley Street, was dedicated in 1921 in remembrance of the people from Franklin who lost their lives during World War I, and giving thanks for the end of the war and for a time of peace. The quest to replace the arch has been a long and difficult one as the parish wanted the new arch to be a replica of the original. The search to find someone who could recreate the arch covered the country and took years.

Pukekohe engineer Richard Gibbons’ patient pursuit of a solution ran into many dead ends and disappointments before he finally found West Auckland company Liquidstone that could replicate the form and decorations of the original arch. Pieces of the original arch have been saved and are now in the garden in front of the historic vicarage.

Richard worked with engineers, architects and the staff at the Liquidstone factory in Swanson over many months to oversee the project. A steel frame supplies the arch’s inner strength, with fibre-reinforced concrete outer panels created using moulds of the 1920s original. The parts of the arch were created off site and the assembly of the arch was trialled in the factory where the sections were produced. Work began on-site in March and the arch is now almost complete.

On Thursday April 25 Bishop Ross Bay will dedicate the arch as part of the 11am Pukekohe Civic Anzac Day service. A procession will begin at 10:50am from the Pukekohe Intermediate School carpark, past the war memorial stones on Queen Street and around the arch before the blessing and dedication. At the end of the service the parade will march through the archway and proceed down to the RSA club rooms.

The people of the parish are very pleased with the re-construction and look forward to the RSA joining them for the dedication on Anzac Day.

Images clockwise from top left: the original arch; reconstructing the arch on-site; close up of the structure; The Rev’d Jan Wallace, Richard Gibbons, representatives from Liquidstone, KD construction, the Returned Services Association, and Salmond Reed. Thanks to The Rev’d Jan Wallace and the Parish of Pukekohe for the photos and words.