Kaitaia First World War memorial

The Kaitaia war memorial in its second location (mid-1960s to 1995).

Additional images

From c. 1986

Kaitaia memorial Kaitaia memorial c1986 Kaitaia memorial c1986

From 2010

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From 2017

Kaitaia memorial 2017 Kaitaia memorial 2017 Kaitaia memorial 2017 Kaitaia memorial 2017 Kaitaia memorial 2017 Kaitaia memorial 2017 Kaitaia memorial 2017 Kaitaia memorial 2017 Kaitaia memorial 2017

The Kaitaia First World War memorial, a marble carving of a funerary angel mounted on a richly inscribed pedestal, forms part Kaitaia’s civic war memorial. This is situated in Remembrance Park, on the corner of Melba Street and Matthews Avenue, near the Kaitaia RSA. A cenotaph built from Waipu stone stands in front of the angel, and the curving wall which frames it is mounted with brass plaques listing men from Kaitaia and the various communities of Mangonui County who gave their lives in both world wars. The cenotaph is inset with marble tablets inscribed with a dedication to ‘The Glorious Dead / 1914 -1918 /1939 – 1945’. Below this are a bronze memorial wreath and plaques acknowledging service in South Africa, Korea, Malaya–Borneo and Vietnam.

The angel, which is now in its third location, was the first civic memorial erected to commemorate New Zealand’s First World War dead. It was originally unveiled at the corner of Alan Bell Drive and Commerce Street on 24 March 1916, less than year after the landing at Gallipoli and with the torments of the western front still to come. Leopold Busby (Riapo Puhipi) of Pukepoto, between Kaitaia and Ahipara, was the moving spirit behind the memorial.

Because the war was still underway, no names were listed on the memorial. The inscription was given in both Māori and English.

Inscription

The Māori version:

HE
TOHU WHAKAMAHARATANGA
TENEI MO A
MATOU TAMARIKI WHANAUNGA
HOKI. NGA MEA KUA MATE NGA
MEA E ORA ANA MAORI PAKEHA,
O ROTO I TE KAUTE O MANGONUI
NEI. KAORE NEI RATOU I RUARUA
KI TE TAPAE WHAKARERE I O RATOU
TINANA HEI MEA E AWHINA AI RATOU
I TE KINGI, I TE EMEPAEA I TE
KORORIA HOKI O TE ATUA I ROTO
I TENEI PAKANGA WHAKAWEHI. I ARA
NEI KI NGA TAKIWA O OROPI I TE
MARAMA O AKUHATA, 1914, HOROPA ATU
ANA INAIANEI KI NGA TOPITO O TE AO.

KAURIA E TE WHANAU NGA NGARU TO A TEA O TE MOANA-NUI A KIWA.
HAPAINGA TE INGOA TOA O KOUTOU TUPUNA
RAPUA HE UTU MO O KOUTOU WHANAUNGA KUA HINGA
KA WHAKATAU TE ATUA I TE WIKITORIA KI TE TAHA TIKA.

The English version:

IN LOVING MEMORY
AND
IN HONOUR OF OUR SONS
AND RELATIONS BOTH MAORI
AND PAKEHA, DEAD OR LIVING
FROM THE COUNTY OF MANGONUI
WHO WILLINGLY OFFERED
THEMSELVES TO SACRIFICE THEIR
LIVES TO UPHOLD THE HONOUR
OF THE KING AND EMPIRE AND
FOR THE GLORY OF GOD IN THIS
TERRIBLE WAR WHICH BEGAN IN
EUROPE IN AUGUST 1914, AND
HAS SINCE SPREAD OVER THE
GREATER PART OF THE WORLD.

SPLASHING THROUGH THE MOUNTAINOUS WAVES OF THE INDIAN
OCEAN OUR BRAVE LADS
UPHOLD THE NAMES OF YOUR NOBLE ANCESTORS:
SEEK TO AVENGE THE DEATHS OF YOUR RELATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN.

GOD WILL GIVE VICTORY TO THE RIGHTEOUS.

See also: images of the unveiling of this memorial and another historical image showing more detail – both on the National Library’s website.

Memorial Park

After the Second World War the people of Kaitaia decided to establish a community war memorial: a war memorial park in Bank Street that was to feature not only a ‘Shrine of Memories’ but also Plunket Rooms, a swimming pool, a band rotunda and a children’s playground. The Plunket Rooms were opened in January 1953; the shrine of memories (a stone cenotaph) was dedicated the following Anzac Day; the Mangonui County and Kaitaia Borough Memorial Swimming Baths were opened on 21 January 1956. The band rotunda, it seems, was never built.

During the mid-1960s, the ‘angel’ memorial was relocated to Memorial Park, where it was mounted on a spiral concrete plinth adjacent to the cenotaph.

Remembrance Park

In 1995 both the angel and the tomb were relocated to Remembrance Park, nearer the centre of town. Here, the memorial took its current shape, with the erection of the curved stone wall on which the angel is mounted and the installation of the rolls of honour, listing 81 names for each world war. (The swimming pool, Plunket Rooms and spiral plinth remain in place in Memorial Park today, although there is no obvious indication of their former memorial status.)

In March 2016, the Kaitaia memorial was rededicated, 100 years after the initial unveiling of the First World War memorial. The angel, which had lost an arm some time prior to its relocation to Memorial Park, was restored by local carver Paul Marshall. A bronze plaque replicating the wording of the original memorial was placed on the wall below.

At the same time a further plaque was added listing the names of an additional 35 men who had given their lives in the First World War.

Rolls of honour

In addition to the rolls of honour on the civic war memorial, the Mangonui County First and Second World War rolls of honour are displayed on wooden memorial tablets in the main hall at the Te Ahu community centre, further along Matthews Avenue. The First World War roll of honour here is the ‘unrevised’ list of 81 names.

Sources

See: ‘Anzac Day … Kaitaia’, NZ Herald, 27/5/1953, p. 10; ‘Baths Opened at Kaitaia’, NZ Herald, 24/1/1956, p. 10; Chris Maclean and Jock Philips, The Sorrow and the Pride: New Zealand War Memorials, Wellington, 1990, pp. 69-70; Keith Parker, Kaitaia: A Nostalgic Glimpse at the 1940s, Kaitaia, 1994, pp. 78-9; Keith Parker, Kaitaia’s 1950s: The Memories Linger on, Kaitaia, 1995, pp. 89-90, 112, 118, 224-5; ‘A special place that speaks to all’, Northland Age, 27/11/2012; ‘[Kaitaia] War Memorial’, Heritage New Zealand, 2012; Liz Light, ‘Brothers in Arms’, Heritage New Zealand, no. 128, Autumn 2013, pp. 8-9; ‘Plans for a Remembrance Park makeover’, Northland Age, 28/10/2014; Jock Philips, To the Memory: New Zealand’s War Memorials, Nelson, 2016, pp. 86-7; ‘Town’s war memorial angel restored’, Northland Age, 10/4/2016; ‘Fresh look for war memorial’, Northern Advocate, 29/4/2015; ‘Restored memorial a chance to reflect’, Northland Age, 24/3/2016.

Community contributions

4 comments have been posted about Kaitaia First World War memorial

What do you know?

Nick

Posted: 16 Oct 2014

I understand this monument was unveiled in 1916 by James Busby's Godson- Riapo Te Ripa Puhipi ( also known as Leopoldo Busby). As a Rangatira of the Te Rarawa people it was poignant that he unveiled this memorial dedicated to all countrymen. Unveiled in 1916 while his son Hamiona Ruhipi (also known as Sam Busby) was serving in world war one. Sam Busby's own son, William Busby went on to serve in the RNZAF in WWII. An interesting parallel to many other new Zealand families who lived through those times. I hope to see the memorial one day

Stuart Park

Posted: 12 Aug 2010

Since this photo was taken, the memorial has been relocated for a seciond time to form part of a combined WWI, WWII and Asian conflicts memorial in Matthews Avenue, Kaitaia. Sadly the upraised arm has been lost. Some repairs are currently (August 2010) being done to the larger memorial by Far North District Council, who also hope to be able to replace the missing arm

Tracy Jacobs

Posted: 15 Nov 2008

I have a family bible from 1888 - a family from Kaitia and a Soldiers diary from 1917, also frim Kaitia. I would like to know if anyone can help me with identifying owners. Tracy.