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ANZAC Building Lined Up For Recognition

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
ANZAC Building Lined Up For Recognition

One of New Zealand's earliest memorials to Anzac Day is being proposed for national heritage recognition by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT).

Public feedback is being sought by NZHPT on its research and assessment of the Soldiers' Club on Marine Parade in Napier, with a view to granting Category I status on the National Register.

The foundation stone for the Soldiers' Club, where First World War servicemen could meet before, during and after active service, was laid on 25 April 1916 - the first anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli. The club opened in December 1916 and today is used for private budget accommodation.

More than 18,500 New Zealanders were killed in, or because of, the First World War. Of these, over 2700 died at Gallipoli.

Alison Dangerfield, New Zealand Historic Places Trust Architecture Heritage Advisor, said the Soldiers' Club has high heritage significance in each of the areas of aesthetic, architectural, historic and social values.

"Our research suggests it was probably New Zealand's first purpose-built soldiers' club, with the foundation stone laid as part of massive Anzac Day celebrations in Napier. Purely from a historical point of view the club's significance is huge - being a physical link to the first anniversary of what was a defining moment in our development as a nation.

"While it is not expressly a memorial to those who took part in the First World War, the building's function, the laying of the foundation stone on Anzac Day and its contribution to the community casts it in this light."

The Soldiers' Club was designed by prominent architect Louis Hay, the two-storey building of reinforced concrete strong enough to withstand the 7.8 magnitude 1931 earthquake that laid waste to much of Napier's central business district. The club was extended in 1930 and remains in remarkably original condition - save for a deck addition in 2001.

"The Soldiers' Club is a fine example of the influence Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects of the Prairie school had on the work of Louis Hay. Other examples of Hay's work in Napier include the AMP Building, National Tobacco Company Building and the Hawke's Bay Art Gallery and Museum."

A copy of the Registration report is available online at Public submissions close on 7 May, with final consideration being made by the NZHPT Board.

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