Stories flood in as memorial opening nears

The long-awaited memorial commemorating prominent pacifist Archibald Baxter at the intersection...
The long-awaited memorial commemorating prominent pacifist Archibald Baxter at the intersection of George and Albany Sts. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
A call for relatives of conscientious objectors to be associated with the Archibald Baxter peace memorial (The Star, 15.07.21) has resulted in about 30 people coming forward.

In a newsletter to Baxter supporters, Alan Jackson said: "Numerous folk ... have recently written in with stories of family involvement with conscientious objection."

Progress on the memorial garden continued and was on track and on budget, he said.

Last week, roadworks opposite the site, which had nothing to do with the project, "made some work a bit tricky" but "the builders coped brilliantly", Mr Jackson said.

"We are very grateful to Signal Associates, who have acted as project managers — Stuart Anderson and Ross Martin — and to Amalgamated Builders Ltd, who have carried out the construction. Top marks to them all."

Events related to the opening of the Baxter Memorial Garden begin on Wednesday, September 22 with the annual Archibald Baxter Memorial Peace Lecture at 5.30pm.

This will take the form of a panel discussion between former prime minister Helen Clark, Baxter Memorial Trust chairman Kevin Clements, politics professor Robert Patman and Taieri MP Ingrid Leary.

On Friday, September 24, a Dunedin Peace Concert to celebrate the opening of the memorial garden will be held at Knox Church.

It will feature an except from War Hero, an opera staged by Opera Otago in July 2017, with music by John Drummond and the part of Archibald Baxter played by Andrew Glover.

The formal opening ceremony will be held on the site of the memorial garden — at the intersection of George and Albany Sts — on Saturday, September 25 at 3.30pm.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson with cut the ribbon and speakers will include Prof Clements (on behalf of the trust), Katherine Baxter (family) and Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins.

"We are negotiating an alternative wet-weather venue — just in case," Mr Jackson said.

Because of the All Blacks v South Africa test match at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday evening, some Dunedin trust supporters had offered beds in their homes since accommodation was likely to be tight with the rugby, he said.

"It is [hoped] to encourage more of this, so that friends can meet up and make this a truly memorable event."

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