Memorial Clock Tower
Sewell And Weld Street, Hokitika
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
21st September 1989
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes part of the land described as Legal Road, Westland Land District and the structure known as the Memorial Clock Tower thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage New Zealand Board meeting on 25 June 2015.
West Coast Region
Legal Road, Westland Land District
The Memorial Clock Tower is a prominent landmark in Hokitika, built in 1902-3 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII, the dispatch of 130 Westland men to serve in the South African War, and four troopers who lost their lives in the war.
In September 1899, prompted by Premier Richard Seddon, New Zealand answered the British Empire’s call to arms in South Africa, offering to support Britain in its dispute with the Boer state of Transvaal. Hundreds of New Zealand men applied to serve as mounted riflemen, and by the time war broke out in South Africa on 11 October 1899, the first contingent was already preparing to depart. The New Zealanders who fought in the South African War were the first soldiers from this country to take part in an overseas conflict. 6,507 New Zealand troops served in South Africa and 230 of those suffered fatal casualties. After the conflict ended in May 1902, many places in New Zealand erected memorials – around 50 in total throughout the country – preserving in stone the imperial sentiments which inspired New Zealand's involvement in the war. Most were erected in that first decade of the twentieth century. In Hokitika, efforts to erect a suitable memorial began even before the war officially had ended. Various fundraising activities were held, ranging from subscriptions to patriotic concerts, a British Empire Bazaar and Fancy Fair. Hokitika’s efforts to commemorate the war effort coincided the much-anticipated coronation of King Edward VII in August 1902 and so the structure serves to as a memorial to both events. The foundation stone for the Memorial Clock Tower was laid in February 1902 by Premier Seddon, who performed a full Masonic ceremony as the Acting Grand Master representing the New Zealand Grand Lodge. The completed structure was unveiled by the Premier’s wife, Mrs Louisa Seddon, on 3 June 1903, in front of a crowd of around 5,000, including her husband, General Babington and his staff, and the West Coast Battalion of Volunteers, Cadets and returned troopers.
The Memorial Clock Tower is situated in the middle of a roundabout at the intersection of Weld and Sewell Streets, in downtown Hokitika. Constructed of concrete, brick, masonry and wrought iron, the memorial was prepared in Auckland by the contractors, Messrs Parkinson and Son. The Memorial Clock Tower is approximately 11 metres in height and its base is 3.35 metres square. It comprises a plinth with commemorative plaques, upon which stand four columns to form a square plan and supporting a round arch covering, above which sits the clock face on each elevation. The upper level of the tower comprises an iron belfry atopped by a decorative finial.
The belfry was replaced in 1957, due to rusting of the original. The only other notable change relates to the area upon which the structure stands – this low plinth was originally square in plan, not much larger than the footprint of the Memorial Clock Tower, and with an iron chain rail. Nowadays it sits on a wider circular plinth which forms the intersection roundabout and the rail has been removed. In 2014 temporary ‘150’ signs were placed on the steps of the Memorial Clock Tower, as part of the celebrations for Westland’s 150th anniversary.
W.Parkinson & Co.
2nd April 2015
Report Written By
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand