Remembering Henry

A bronze statue of Henry Nicholas stands in Remembrance Park, Christchurch.

Henry Nicholas, 2007 by Mark Whyte

Sculptor Mark Whyte submitted a small preliminary model or maquette to the Memorial Project Committee to show what the statue could look like. The Park of Remembrance is not designed to glorify war so Henry is not carrying weapons, though his clenched fists in the actual statue note his skill as a boxer.

Canterbury Museum 2017.115.1

WW039 180801

In 2002, following publicity about the donation of Henry Nicholas’ medals to Canterbury Museum, people realised that there was no public memorial for Henry. Two World War Two Victoria Cross winners were commemorated with plaques on the Bridge of Remembrance Arch but it looked as if Henry had been forgotten in his home city.

Following the establishment of a Memorial Project Committee, donations were received from local trusts, RSA branches, businesses and individuals. Canterbury District RSA and the Christchurch City Council commissioned a bronze sculpture of Henry Nicholas by Christchurch sculptor Mark Whyte, which was gifted to the City of Christchurch after its unveiling on 7 March 2007. While the statue remembers Henry’s bravery, it also serves as a reminder of the sacrifices many people made so that we have the chance to live in peace.

In Memory

The white crosses were installed in October 2017 to mark the centenary of the death of more than 840 New Zealanders on 23 October 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele. The statue by Mark Whyte is one third larger than life size. The stone base was gifted by the people of Le Quesnoy, the main town near the village of Beaudignies where Nicholas died.