Story: Memorials and monuments

Kaiapoi memorial soldier (2nd of 3)

Kaiapoi memorial soldier

A third local sculptor who made a notable contribution to memorial art was William Trethewey. He was a Christchurch monumental mason, largely self-taught but with aspirations to be a sculptor in the grand tradition. In 1920 he submitted a figure, 'The bomb-thrower', to the Christchurch Art Society exhibition – but, despite being the talking point of the exhibition, it was deemed too realistic for a memorial. However, it did gain Trethewey a commission for this memorial at Kaiapoi. It was described as a digger resting after a desperate charge, the torn sleeve and wounded arm showing what he had been through. Trethewey had modelled the figure on 'Starkie' (James Douglas Stark), the rebellious soldier who was the subject of Robin Hyde's First World War novel Passport to hell. Trethewey was later the sculptor for the Christchurch memorial in Cathedral Square, long regarded as one of the finest in the country.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Jock Phillips

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Memorials and monuments - Memorials to the First World War', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 28 June 2022)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 26 Mar 2015