Citizens’ War Memorial

The Citizens’ War Memorial immediately north of the ChristChurch Cathedral, was unveiled on 9 June 1937 by Colonel S. C. P. Nicholls during a service conducted by Archbishop Julius.

The figures were first modelled in clay by the Christchurch sculptor William Trethewey, and afterwards reproduced in plaster. The moulds were forwarded to England where they were cast in bronze by A. B. Burton.

Citizens War Memorial, Cathedral Square
Showing the Citizens War memorial with Warners Hotel and the Press building behind, circa 1963. Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ. HW08-IMG-FE73.tif.

The memorial comprises six figures, the symbolism of which is as follows:

The figure seated in the centre with outstretched arms, in an attitude of resignation and sacrifice, is symbolic of the mothers of the Empire grieving for their sons.

On the right, facing the Cathedral, is St George in armour, representing valour or protection; on the other side, holding a torch, is Youth.

Next to St George is Peace, holding an olive branch and a dove, and alongside is Justice, blindfolded and holding scales.

The figure at the top showing the sword being broken was at first to be called “Victory”, but the War Memorial Committee decided against this and it has no name.

Citizens' War Memorial
Flickr CCL-2011-11-08-Cenotaph

More information

Citizens' War Memorial
Citizens' War Memorial, Flickr CCL-2011-11-08-Cenotaph2

Related pages


This was originally derived from the Christchurch City Council handbook of 1998.

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