Mayor Moved In French Town
Everywhere Christchurch's Mayor, Garry Moore, turned in the French town of Le Quesnoy he found New Zealand connections.
He was the first Christchurch Mayor to visit the town since the 1918 liberation by Kiwi troops.
Canterbury Regiment Lieutenant Les Averill of Christchurch led the assault party and the town has kept the memory of that event alive ever since.
Mayors of Le Quesnoy have visited New Zealand infrequently in recent years.
Mr Moore says the New Zealand flag is still flown outside the town hall every day in memory of the 1918 storming of the walls and for "the sacrifices the New Zealanders made for the French in their hour of need.
" The Mayors of Le Quesnoy and Beaudignies met Mr Moore and his wife, Pam Sharpe.
Mr Moore noticed that in pride of place in the town hall is a Maori carving given decades ago.
They toured the town's walls which were scaled by Lieut Averill and a small band of Kiwi soldiers.
"They made the ladder from plane trees cut down nearby and there is a bronze cast on the side of the wall depicting the bravery of the New Zealanders," he says.
"Le Quesnoy hasn't changed.
We have," he says.
He was moved during the tour of graves of New Zealand soldiers.
"The graves are in beautiful condition and every April 25 they celebrate Anzac Day.
They have not forgotten and they carry the memory in a very real way.
" The whole journey was one of great emotion.
"We should be proud of our forbears and never forget their sacrifice," he says.
Mr Moore adds that he had the nicest French meal "I have ever eaten" in Le Quesnoy.
Further information: Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore: 371 1558.