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Marking Boer War Centenary

Auckland City Council - City Scene

Yvonne Smith, the daughter of a Boer War soldier, and her husband Athol at the function with Auckland's mayor, Chris Fletcher who is holding her great uncle's uniform.

Medals, newspaper clippings and the uniform belonging to the great uncle of Auckland's mayor, Chris Fletcher, sparked conversation and memories at an Auckland City commemoration for descendants of Boer War veterans.

The function was held at the Ranfurly War Veterans home to mark 100 years since the first New Zealand contingent left Wellington wharf for South Africa. Sending troops to South Afirca was the first time New Zealand forces had been sent to an overseas conflict, with 10 contingents and a total of 6500 New Zealand forces involved.

The mayor said the Boer War was a major event in the shaping of New Zealand's nationhood and that its descendants were a special link in the country's history.

"The stories and medals are precious reminders of the commitment and sacrifice our forebears have made."

Official Internal Affairs records show that 230 New Zealanders lost their lives during the war. However, a national memorial and roll of honour at the Ranfurly Home records the names of 272 - the discrepancy believed to be due to a number of New Zealanders who served with imperial forces and some who later died from their injuries. For many of the relatives it was the first time they had met other descendants of Boer War veterans.

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