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William James Reed 1908-1996
Sir John McKenzie memorial cairn, Puketapu Hill above Palmerston
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Sir John McKenzie memorial cairn, Puketapu Hill above Palmerston
watercolour on paper
signed lower left
Image Size: 355 x 560mm (14 x 22in)
Framed Size: 670 x 860mm (26.4 x 33.9in)
Stock Number: 34288

Price category between $5,000 and $9,999

Prime Minister Richard Seddon unveiled the memorial cairn to his Parliamentary colleague Sir John McKenzie in November 1902. The cairn is faced with local stone with cornerstones from the River of Leith, and was originally sited not in its present location but on a nearby hill, Pukehiwitahi which overlooks the Heathfield Estate at Shag Point, where Sir John died in August 1901. The mason was HS Bingham.

In 2001 the Department of Conservation declared the internal stairway was unsafe and they, together with the Oamaru Licensing Trust, Waihemo Lodge Hotel in Palmerston and the Waitaki Heritage Trust arranged the repair. The RNZAF provided an Iroquois helicopter to airlift the new internal staircases to the memorial cairn and the cairn was officially reopened, for the second time, in March 2002 following a church service in the Murray Hall at the East Otago High School. Among those present was Sir John McKenzie's great-granddaughter.

The monument is visited in October each year by athletes who compete in the annual Kelly's Canter from the Palmerston railway station to the summit of Puketapu. It is 333 metres to the top (the cairn is a further 13 metres high) and the fastest runners make the return trip in 25 minutes.

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