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

Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010 Kaitaia memorial 2010

From 2016

Kaitaia memorial 2016

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

About the memorial

The Kaitaia memorial is now on the corner of Melba St and Matthews Ave. A Second World War altar-type memorial stands in front of the angel, and the curving wall that flanks it has plaques with names from both world wars. There were no names originally because the First World War was still in progress. The memorial now also has plaques (but no names) for South Africa, Korea, Malaya–Borneo and Vietnam.

This was the first memorial erected to commemorate New Zealand’s First World War dead. It was unveiled at the corner of Alan Bell Drive and Commerce St (now the site of the Kauri Arms Tavern), Kaitaia, on 24 March 1916, less than year after the landing at Gallipoli and with the torments of the western front still to come. A Maori, L.T. Busby of Pukepoto (between Kaitaia and Ahipara), was the moving spirit behind the memorial, and the words beneath the typical cemetery angel are in both Maori and English.

The Second World War Kaitaia memorial comprises a ‘Shrine of Memories’ and a swimming pool – a proposed band rotunda was never constructed. It was erected in Bank St (opposite nos 14–18) beside the present swimming pool (the earlier one was damaged in a flood). It was dedicated on 24 April 1953 and the Anzac Day parade was held there the following day.

The ‘angel’ memorial was relocated to this site in the mid-1960s, and placed on a spiral plinth that is visible in the top image on this page. The plinth is still there, and with its semi-circular screen hedge can be seen on Google Earth. Both memorials were relocated to their current site, known as ‘Remembrance Park’, in 1995. The RSA clubrooms are just across the road.

Rededication

In March 2016, the Kaitaia memorial was rededicated, 100 years after its initial unveiling. The statue had lost an arm during the move to the Remembrance Park, but it has since been restored with an arem by local carver Paul Marshall. 

If you have an image of the now complete statue, please email info@nzhistory.net.nz

Inscription

The Maori 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.

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.