Wahine memorial attacked with grinder
Mon, 15 Oct 2012 1:18p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
The Wellington City Council will send a contractor to the Wahine Memorial Park this week to examine a bronze propeller hacked at by a potential scrap metal thief.
A number of blades on the propeller have been partially cut with a grinder. The memorial pays tribute to one of New Zealand’s worst maritime disasters.
The propeller belonged to Wahine, an inter-island ferry which capsized after it struck Barrett Reef in ferocious weather on April 10, 1968. Fifty-one people died in the accident.
The propeller is now a prominent feature of the memorial park at Palmer Head - the site where lifeboats and bodies washed ashore 44 years ago.
The council was told of the damage yesterday by a woman walking in the area and today dispatched contractors who deal with the city’s bronze works to inspect the damage.
It is thought the memorial was attacked for scrap metal.
A council spokesperson says initial advice suggests the damage is repairable and once that is confirmed, it will be fixed as soon as possible.
The propeller is from one of Wahine’s four Pleuger thruster units which aided the ship when berthing by pushing it sideways.
In the Wahine’s final moments, the thrusters were used by the crew to manoeuvre the ship so it was head-on into the wind and swell, rather than side on.
The memorial park was officially unveiled at a council meeting in 1975 but it wasn’t until 1978 – a decade after the disaster – when the propeller was mounted with a plaque at the park.
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15/10/2012 7:54:47 p.m.
Some in the USA have been replaced with metal coated plastic to deter such thieves. Good luck.
15/10/2012 4:35:27 p.m.
We have some real scumbags living amongst us.
15/10/2012 2:24:44 p.m.
This is disgraceful.
15/10/2012 2:18:56 p.m.
Oh FFS! Is nothing sacred these days????
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