Kaponga war memorials

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In 1921 the people of Kaponga decided to build memorial gates at the entrance to Victoria Park, the town’s main recreation ground. The exact date these were completed is uncertain, probably sometime in 1922. The Kaponga District roll of honour was inscribed on a black granite tablet affixed to one of the pillars. This listed the names of 30 local men who had given their lives.

After the Second World War a second plaque with another 14 names was added. The townsfolk also resolved to build a war memorial hall on the old town hall site adjacent to the park. The Kaponga War Memorial Hall was opened by MP Egmont Mr E.B. Corbett on 12 May 1956. The architects, Graeme Laurenson and Associates, of New Plymouth, designed several other memorial buildings in the area.

The commemorative plaque in the lobby (not pictured here) reads: THIS MEMORIAL / WAS ERECTED BY / THE CITIZENS OF KAPONGA AND DISTRICT / TO COMMEMORATE THE SACRIFICES / OF THOSE WHO SERVED IN WORLD WAR II / 1939-1945. The hall does not contain a roll of honour, but in 2017 an old framed display board  with the photographs of 20 unnamed First World War soldiers (presumably from Kaponga) was rediscovered in storage. This has been restored and placed in the Kaponga RSA.

See: ‘Local and General’, Hawera & Normanby Star, 6/6/1921, p. 4; ‘Kaponga’s New War Memorial Hall’, Taranaki Herald, 11/5/1956, p. 10; ‘Kaponga and District War Memorial Hall’, Taranaki Daily News, 12/5/1956, p. 7; ‘Kaponga’s Memorial Termed Magnificent’, Taranaki Daily News, 14/5/1956, p. 6; G.J. Harding et al., The Kaponga Story, Kaponga, 1982, p. 19; Kaponga Heritage Inventory, rev. ed. 2003, pp. 21-2; Kaponga War Memorial, Kete New Plymouth; ‘Kaponga military heroes are a recently-discovered mystery’, Taranaki Daily News, 11/9/2017.

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