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Free Admission
Open Daily 9.30am to 4.30pm

Memorial Alcove

This stunning stained glass window and monument stands as a tribute to the thousands of New Zealanders who gave their lives in defence of their country in air operations around the world.


Memorial Alcove


The window was designed and made by RNZAF official artist, Wing Commander Maurice Conly and stained glass artist Rena Jarowsewitsch. It was inspired by Stephen Spender’s poem, “I think continually of those who were truly great”.


Propeller: In the centre of the alcove stands an aircraft propeller with blades bent back, mounted on a compass rose. Propellers bent like this are a common result of aircraft accidents and crashes, so this reminds us once again of those who gave their lives in the air, while the compass indicates the many places around the world in which New Zealanders have served. Some of these places are named on the footing of the compass.

Left panel: The left panel of the window represents all the RNZAF’s ground trades and shows some of the insignia and images associated with them. In addition is a winged lion, the symbol of St Mark, the patron saint of the RNZAF.

Centre panel: The central panel is a memorial to all New Zealanders killed while serving with the Air Force. Much of the symbolism is taken from Stephen Spender’s poem which is quoted below it. The window also contrasts war and peace. On the left, a European city is depicted under attack and on fire, while on the right, the panel glows with light from a life-giving sun symbolising a new day, hope, growth and peace.

Right panel: The right panel represents air crew. Some of the images show insignia worn by air crew, while the kotuku, or white heron, represents flight and the four stars of the ‘Southern Cross’ constellation indicate New Zealand. A feather, or quill, in the lower right hand corner acknowledges a substantial contribution to the creation of the alcove by the family of the late Air Commodore Stan Quill CBE, DFC.

Open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm (except Christmas Day)
Entry to the Museum is free, donations are appreciated.

45 Harvard Ave, Wigram, Christchurch | 03 343 9532

We welcome visitors of all abilities