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Information panels complete Christchurch firefighters sculpture

20 September 2004

A ceremony has been held today to mark completion of the Firefighters Reserve, on the banks of the Avon River in Christchurch.
The Reserve and sculpture (A Tribute to Firefighters) were created as acknowledgement of the work of firefighters worldwide and to mark the World Firefighters Games held in Christchurch in October 2002. City sculptor Graham Bennett created the work using twisted steel I-beams from New York’s destroyed World Trade Center buildings.
Project spokesperson Marlene Le Cren, the Christchurch City Council’s arts adviser, says the reserve was completed with the installation of information panels on the bridge railings above the sculpture, on the corner of Madras and Kilmore streets.
“The reserve was designed as a peaceful place of reflection where people can remember,” she says. “The goodwill and support of many people, both in New York and here in Christchurch, was needed to bring all the elements together to create the reserve and the sculpture.  The storyboard panels explain how this unique and superbly successful project was achieved.”
Spiritual considerations were completed during the unveiling of the storyboards with the burying of filings of steel left over from the construction of the sculpture, the blessing of a New Zealand steel koru and the placement of a piece of pounamu gifted by the Otautahi Runaka.
The Firefighters Reserve and sculpture have come about through a partnership between Christchurch City Council and sponsors -- Lion Foundation, John Rhind Funeral Directors, Scenic Circle Hotels and City Care.
The story of how the sculpture and Reserve came to be in Christchurch is also told in a book by local journalist Rosa Shiels called Journey: The Story of the Steel. Copies are available from the City Council’s Tuam Street office for $9.95.

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