At almost five metres tall, the monument joins together two of the UK and New Zealand’s most iconic trees
During their recent visit to Wellington, New Zealand, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to lay a wreath and view the UK War Memorial. While the occasion was sombre, the royal couple also admired the brilliance of Weta Workshop, the masterminds behind the creation of the five-metre tall monument.
The special effects and props company that shot to fame for their work on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings has won copious awards including five Oscars and four Baftas.
From humble beginnings in 1987 in the back room of founders Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger’s flat in Wellington, Weta Workshop has become one of the world-leading design and effects facilities designing outrageous characters and fantasy worlds for the creative industry.
For over three decades the company has displayed its immense creativity and craftsmanship not only in countless TV and film productions, but also in statues and monuments commemorating and celebrating various events, from war to rugby, and of course the beloved Lord of the Rings and Hobbit characters.
Revealed in 2017, the UK War Memorial is the latest addition to Weta Workshop’s creations around the city. At almost five metres tall, the monument joins together two of the UK and New Zealand’s most iconic trees. The trunks of a royal oak and a pōhutakawa (also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree) entwine to form one single leafy canopy, where leaves from both trees merge to create a shelter that invites visitors to sit and rest underneath it.
A silhouette of a single soldier can be seen between its branches, representing the union of two countries who have stood side by side in war, and the millions who served in times of conflict, resolution and peace.
Made from steel, bronze and polycarbonates, the memorial weighs in at a hefty two and a half tonnes. It is one of the largest sculptures Weta Workshop has ever created and took a team of 100 crew members to create it.