Photography: Guy Robinson

The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior

Te Toma o Te Toa Matangaro
National War Memorial
New Zealand

The bronze and stone tomb is an expression of the nation’s memory and a cross-cultural language of remembrance. The design combines Maori and Pakeha ritual, symbolic, and visual elements, and uses materials to express remembrance specific to New Zealand’s contemporary identity. For example, a karanga (ritual call) in Maori and English as an expression of sorrow and the human voice, and, inlaid stone crosses representing geographic location, a tukutuku (woven wall panel) pattern, and fields of memorial crosses.

Distinguished New Zealand historian and co-author of 'The Sorrow and the Pride: New Zealand War Memorials', Jock Phillips, described a tomb design that ‘was totally appropriate to the messages that needed to be conveyed, that was rich in iconography and fertile in layers of meaning, and that respected the site in which the memorial was to sit…. The solution is brilliant’.