Weta Workshop reveals new NZ-UK War Memorial with virtual reality

The design of the UK's presence at Pukeahu National War Memorial has been revealed in a virtual reality display at the British High Commission.

The 5m tall memorial features intertwined Royal Oak and Pohutakawa trees sculpted in steel with a colourful bronze canopy.

The Weta-designed and built sculpture was 13,000 hours and four years in the making.

"It's made from two trees that intertwine to create one tree. They have one canopy but two trunks," said Weta art director Rebekah Tisch.

"We hope people will enjoy being under it and sitting near it, as they would a real tree."

The design had input from students at Massey University and the UK's Wimbledon College of Art, and had to be built to withstand Wellington winds. Around 100 people ended up working on the project.

It's 7m long and the canopy weighs 2.5 tonnes, with the trunks weighing in at 1.7 tonnes.

In the centre of the branches sits the outline of a soldier which can only be seen from a few angles.

Weta supervisor Andrew Durno said it's been a labour of love.

"The canopy itself is made of 24 panels. Two unfortunate guys have been stuck in a room for four months, welding, grinding, making it look as beautiful as it is," he said.

He hopes standing beneath it will be an emotional experience for visitors.

"I hope they'll get under there and realise that it's been a colossal effort to build, that's representative of a colossal effort that was given."

The UK Memorial was commissioned to honour the shared sacrifices by New Zealanders and Britons in conflicts over the past century.

The physical memorial will be unveiled at the park on Monday by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.