New Zealand peace garden finished in time for Armistice Day

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Back in August (2018) we brought you the story of Rangimarie, the planned New Zealand peace garden in the French town of Le Quesnoy, which was being built for the Armistice Day centenary commemorations this weekend. The team behind the project was calling for donations to help make the garden a reality.

We can now report the funds were raised and the garden is complete - in time for the centenary.

 “Rangimarie” - the now completed NZ peace garden in Les Quesnoy, France.

“Rangimarie” - the now completed NZ peace garden in Les Quesnoy, France.

Xanthe White Design was chosen by an international jury to build the 2000 square metre permanent garden in an old citadel. The project has been funded by the French Government, the Region Haut-de-France, New Zealand/France friendship fund and an organisation called Art & Jardins Hauts-de-France. Senior designer Zoe Carafice of XWD says the budget was tiny for what they wanted to create.

 Last weekend’s opening ceremony with the NZ Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy (left) Xanthe White (centre) and the mayor of Les Quesnoy, Marie-Sophie Lesne.

Last weekend’s opening ceremony with the NZ Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy (left) Xanthe White (centre) and the mayor of Les Quesnoy, Marie-Sophie Lesne.

“Just as we were finishing planting the garden we got the amazing news that the NZ embassy would pay for the seats for the garden, so we were able to send the wonderful artist/carver Tui Hobson over to carve the seats. she has done such a beautiful job and we feel like the garden is now complete.”

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Xanthe White was there last weekend (3/11/18) to open the garden. “It's a proud and special day when a town comes to be present for the opening of a garden. Bought to life by friendships old and new and the generosity of those from home who stepped in to give a little to finish a project built on aroha and mahi,” says Xanthe.

 The seats carved by Tui Hobson.

The seats carved by Tui Hobson.

She also says It was an honour to have the NZ Governor-General there to open the garden. “But I was most proud that we had the love of the people whose town Le Quesnoy it is, around us. Rangimarie is open, it will grow with their care. It was made because many came together in memory of those we lost.”

 Before - the overgrown meadow which has been transformed into the peace garden.

Before - the overgrown meadow which has been transformed into the peace garden.