In collaboration with the sculptor Kingsley Baird, Studio Pacific won an international competition to design this memorial, sited on Anzac Parade in Canberra, to commemorate the relationship between Australia and New Zealand.
The purpose of the memorial is to express a shared historical, cultural, social, spiritual, economic and geographic closeness.
Woven from solid bronze, the final sculpture, representing the handles of a kete rising from the earth, was inspired by the Maori proverb “mau tena kiwai o te kete, maku tenei”, which translates loosely as “you at this handle, I at this handle of the kete”. The sculpture is a metaphor for cooperating, working together, sharing experiences and, in wartime, sharing the load of losses. Eight bronze niho niho or triangular teeth at the base represent the emerging rim of the basket, strengthening the link between the handles and the ground. The text of Jenny Bornholdt’s specially commissioned poem is cast into the niho niho.
The paving beneath the handles is also significant, with the eastern side bearing a Maori design and the western an Aboriginal design. The centre stone on the eastern side is granite taken from the Coromandel Peninsula and placed over soil taken from Chunuk Bair, where New Zealanders fought at Gallipoli and a piece of Australian granite covers soil from Lone Pine, where Australians fought. Both countries’ prime ministers conducted a ceremonial opening of the new memorial on Anzac Day 2001.