Six KCDC councillors agreed in February to build the Guru legacy monument on the Paraparaumu beachfront, which is going to cost the District’s ratepayers a lot, not only in construction but in upkeep. Something more modest and sensible; even just a commissioned Pouwhenua (totem pole) that the plans made a point of, would have been enough.

The Gigantic mindset — “bigger is better” — has been a feature of the structures created in countries ruled by megalomaniacs. One good example is the former Romanian dictator Ceausescu’s palace in Bucharest, now the world’s second biggest inhabited building after the Pentagon, but the best examples of huge vanity structures are those of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, ruled respectively by Stalin and Hitler, from the 1930s.

The Soviet pavilion at the 1937 Paris Exposition Internationale.
The German pavilion at the 1937 Paris International Expo. Hitler ensured it was taller than the Soviet one.
The German and Soviet pavilions faced each other next to the Seine.
Interior of the German pavilion in Paris.
Interior of the Soviet pavilion in Paris
The plan for the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow, to be 415 metres high, topped by a 99 metre high statue of Lenin. It was never built.
A model of the enormous Kuppelhalle by Albert Speer (‘Halle des deutschen Volkes’) as the centre-piece of Berlin (to be renamed Germania) from 1939. The model includes people at the same scale on the steps. It likewise was never built.