Notwithstanding its short European history, New Zealand has many memorials: they range from simple plaques or tablets to monumental tombs on landscaped headlands; from naturalistic statues to symbolic groups. There are memorial buildings with useful functions, such as churches, libraries, museums, town halls, and even civic and community centres. There are bridges, bandstands, clock towers, and pavilions of many kinds; park and bush reserves, playing fields, driveways, avenues, gateways, fountains, and even specimen trees. The subjects they commemorate are as varied as their forms. There are memorials to the Maori people, their landing places and canoes; but, in general, most of them relate to the development of the European settlement. These include memorials to the early navigators, explorers, and missionaries, to Royal visits, to political leaders, and to national events such as war. They may even commemorate a national disaster.
A complete coverage of so wide a subject is beyond the scope of this essay; its emphasis, therefore, is directed towards the nature and quality of memorial design, and the examples quoted are of necessity restricted.