E tū safety focus as Erebus design unveiled – E tū

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New Zealand’s largest aviation union, E tū welcomes the announcement that a design has been selected for the national memorial commemorating the Erebus disaster.

In 1979, an Air New Zealand scenic flight over Antarctica crashed into Mt Erebus killing all 257 people on board including 20 crew.

The final design, Te Paerangi Ataata – Sky Song, by Wellington firm Studio Pacific Architecture will be located in Dove-Myer Robinson Park (Parnell Rose gardens), overlooking the Waitematā and is scheduled for unveiling in May 2020.

E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage says every year cabin crew mark the anniversary of the disaster with a wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden at Auckland Airport.

But he says, there has long been a need for a proper memorial to all those who died in New Zealand’s worst aviation disaster.

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“We’ve long supported the call by the Erebus families for a proper memorial, which bears the name of all those on board. This design does that,” says Savage.

“While our preference would be a south facing memorial overlooking the Manukau harbour, if the families of the bereaved support the location then we stand with them,” he says.

Savage says it’s appropriate the announcement comes ahead of commemorations marking the 40th anniversary of the crash.

“This year’s commemorations will be particularly poignant for cabin crew and pilots. The loss of Flight 901 was one of New Zealand’s worst industrial accidents and there are crew still flying today who lost colleagues and family members in the disaster.

“The safety of both themselves and the travelling public is paramount for all aviation workers, and this focus on the Erebus disaster reminds the nation of the need to create the safest aviation industry we can.”

Savage says the union will be speaking to Auckland Airport and Air New Zealand about improving the Airport Memorial Gardens in time for the 40th anniversary commemorations in November.