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Memorial plans to be considered

News Release

24 February 2014

Memorial plans to be considered

Plans will soon be revealed for the new War Memorial that could be developed at Laurie Hall Park in time for next year’s ANZAC Day commemorations of World War One.

Whangarei’s Returned Services Association and Council have been working on the project since last year and it is soon to be presented to Council for consideration.

In the past three years a field of remembrance, featuring one white cross for each Whangarei service person killed in the First World War, has been installed at Laurie Hall Park for a month before Anzac Day. Ceremonies at the Park on the day, including a community choir performance of choral music composed specifically for the event, have attracted increasing crowds in recent years.

“The event has outgrown the Rose Street site so discussions in the past couple of years have been around whether to relocate the existing memorial to Laurie Hall Park, or whether a new memorial should be developed. This has presented the opportunity to discuss a number of other issues, including adding the names of soldiers who have been omitted from other memorials,” said WDC Group Planner Robin Rawson.

A project team was formed including Archie Dixon and Ian Reid from the Returned Services Association, Councillors Glen and Martin and Council staff. The RSA members’ opinions were surveyed and Mr Reid began gathering the names and stories of people who fell during the wars.

“The consensus was to create a new memorial incorporating the Rose Street Memorial. Draft designs for this will go before Whangarei District Council on 12 March.

“The design proposal consists of a large central area set into the slope to the east of the waterfall, semi-enclosed by three granite memorial walls. The central wall would accommodate the names of all soldiers who died in active service during the wars that New Zealand has participated. Other walls could include information on the participation of Whangarei residents in these wars,” Ms Rawson said.

Above the central area, a retained area with balustrade could include flagpoles. Existing paths could be realigned to allow better access through this area and the slope could be terraced lawn with concrete steps.

The draft design includes structures and paving that could accommodate the large numbers of people attending Anzac Ceremonies and other events in the park as well as casual lunchtime activity.

Seeking names

The Rose Street Memorial does not contain a full list of Whangarei World War one war dead so Ian Reid from the Returned Services Association has been working on a project to record all the names of Whangarei people who died in service. Names have been recorded for all those people who died in war service in World War 1, World War 2 and subsequent conflicts.

Mr Reid is keen to hear from anyone who may have a name to add to the memorial. Mr Reid said there are no formal rules about name selection, and it is up to the local region as to how names are selected.

The Whangarei War Service register contains names of people who were born, educated or enlisted in the area or had parents who were living in the Whangarei area.

The format for name recording on a memorial would be the surname of the person followed by initials. The only additional information being considered is VC for a holder of the Victoria Cross or Str commonly used to denote nurses, (there is one of each in the current list).

This project is ongoing, and the list of names on 18 February included the following numbers:

World War 1: 284 Service People (166 on Rose Street Memorial)

World War 2: 321 Service People

Boer War: 1 soldier

Korean Emergency: 1 person

Vietnam Emergency: 2 people

This research is ongoing.

The RSA will hold an open day on 15 March 2014 from 11am to 3pm. This will provide opportunity for service records to be examined by extended family and other interested parties.

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