Henare Wepiha Te Wainohu memorial, Wairoa

Memorial Historic Memorial

The Reverend Henare Wepiha Te Wainohu served as chaplain to the Maori Contingent during the First World War. In this role he earned great respect for his courage and compassion. He died of stomach cancer at Wairoa on 1 October 1920, at the age of 38. He was buried at Mohaka.

On 16 January 1924 a memorial was unveiled in his honour at Wairoa. Archdeacon Herbert Williams of Waiapu assisted by a number of Māori clergy conducted the service of dedication. Dr Peter Buck, DSO, unveiled the memorial. This was a marble statue of Rev. Henare, dressed in full uniform and carrying a copy of the Bible, mounted on a granite obelisk.

The dedicatory text is given in both English and Māori:

‘For God, King and Country. / - / Erected in memory of the / Rev. Henare Wepiha Te Wainohu / Vicar of Wairoa Maori Pastorate. / Chaplain Major / New Zealand Maori Expeditionary Forces / 1915-1918. / Died 1st Oct. 1921 [sic]. /Aged 38 years. // Mo te Atua, mo te Kingi, mo te Whenua. / - / He tohu whakamahara kia / Rev. Henare Wepiha Te Wainohu / Minita o Te Pariha o Te Wairoa / Chaplain Major / o Te Ropu Hoia Maori o Niu Tireni / 1915 – 1918. / I mate i te 1 o Oketopa, 1921. / Ona tau 38.’

At the time of the unveiling, it was suggested that the monument not only memorialised Rev. Henare but also paid homage to all fallen Māori soldiers of the First World War. This is reflected in the second part of the inscription: ‘Also to the memory of / all members of the Pioneer Battalion / especially.― / Those who have made the / supreme sacrifice on the fields of / battle or at home.’

The statue was erected alongside an obelisk erected in memory of Thomas Carroll in 1904. In 1924 the memorial plot was on the outskirts of the town; today the surroundings are incongruously semi-industrial.

 See: ‘Te Kohatu a Chaplain-Major Henare Wapiha Te Wanohu’, Te Toa Takitini, 1/1/1924, p. 1; ‘Maori

War Memorial’, NZ Herald, 18/1/1924, p. 10; ‘A Maori Chaplain: Memorial Unveiled’, Press, 18/1/1924, p. 7.

 

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