Dutch war memorial, Parnell

Dutch War Memorial Memorial detail Memorial detail

In August 1960 the Netherlands Veterans League announced plans to erect a war memorial to the 38,000 Dutch servicemen and resistance fighters who had died in the Second World War, the Indonesian war of independence, and the Korean War. The site chosen was Campbell’s Point, overlooking Judges Bay, Parnell. The memorial was financed by donations from the Dutch community in New Zealand and was largely built using voluntary labour. It was unveiled on 26 April 1963 by Mr K.W. Fraser, immediate past-President of the Returned Services’ Association and patron of the Netherlands Veterans League.

The memorial consisted of a substantial seat made from Roman bricks and slabs of aggregated concrete set in a small raised court. This was bordered at the rear by an ornamental wall planted with black tulips and alongside by a wrought-iron fence inset with the badges of Dutch service units. Plans for a statue by sculptor Peter Van Raalte of three figures symbolizing Occupation, Remembrance and Liberation were not realized.

The bronze dedicatory plaque installed beside the memorial seat read: “The Netherlands community / in / New Zealand / dedicates this seat to / the sacred memory of / 38,000 Netherlands servicemen / resistance fighters and seamen / who laid down their lives for / the freedom of their country / for the Allied cause / and for the restoration of order and peace. // Western war theatres / 1940 – 1945 // Eastern war theatres / 1941 – 1945 // Indonesia 1945 – 1950 // Korea / 1951 – 1953 / ‘While a bright future beckoned / they freely gave their lives / and fondest hopes for us and / our Allies that we might / learn from them the courage in / peace to spend our lives / making a better world for others.’”

Sources: ‘Dutch Plan War Memorial at Parnell’, Auckland Star, 12/8/1960; ‘Memorial to Dutch’, NZ Herald, 6/10/1960; ‘Dutch Memorial for Rose Garden’, Auckland Star, 29/12/1962; ‘Rose Garden Seat as War Memorial’, NZ Herald, 1/5/1963; ‘War Memorial Seat in Gardens’, NZ Herald, 6/5/1963.

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