Kerikeri war memorial

Kerikeri war memorial

Kerikeri memorial Kerikeri memorial Kerikeri memorial

Unlike most New Zealand towns, Kerikeri does not have a prominently sited civic war memorial.

The Kerikeri war memorial is located down a right-of-way off Cobham Street, outside the RSA clubrooms. It consists of a flagpole within an enclosure delineated by four low brick pillars. A plaque attached to one of the front pillars lists the names of 13 men from the Kerikeri area who saw active service during the First World War, four of whom gave their lives; on the opposite pillar another plaque commemorates (but does not name) those who have served in wars since the Second World War.

This flagpole was built using a bequest from Herbert Murray, a local benefactor. The plaque beneath the flagpole reads: THIS FLAGPOLE WAS PRESENTED BY / HERBERT H. MURRAY / TO COMMEMORATE THE BATTLE / OF THE SOMME 1916, / AND TO THE MEMORY AND THE GLORY OF / ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH / ARMED FORCES WHO FELL IN ACTION. / “WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.” Another plaque names four local men who gave their lives in the First World War and eight who gave their lives in the Second World War.

The memorial was presumably unveiled on or around 26 November 1988, when the RSA moved from its old clubrooms in Hone Heke Street to new premises in Cobham Street.

The earlier history of Kerikeri’s war memorials has been poorly documented. According to one account, a tōtara flagpole which was erected after the First World War at the Kerikeri Primary School in Riverview Road served as the focus for Anzac Day commemorations until the Kerikeri Memorial Hall was opened in June 1945.

When the Riverview Road school was relocated in 1963, the flagpole was moved first to the memorial hall, then to the RSA clubrooms in Hone Heke Street, and finally in 1988 to the local golf course. There it partly rotted away, but the remains were turned into a carving, which was blessed on 14 September 2009. (There is another account of a ‘ricker kauri’ flagstaff that had originally been located at the school being moved first to the grounds of the memorial hall, then to the servicemen’s section of the Wiroa Road cemetery.)

The Kerikeri Memorial Hall, which was originally built as a passionfruit processing factory in 1931, was demolished in 2009. It is not known what happened to its memorial plaques (if any).

Sources: Kerikeri 175th Anniversary, Kerikeri, 1994, pp. 53-4, 59, 61; Nancy Pickmere, Kerikeri: Heritage of Dreams, Russell, 1994, pp. 106, 146; ‘Demolition of war memorial hall begins’, Bay Chronicle, 31/1/2009; ‘History flags pole as treasured item’, Bay Chronicle, 24/9/2009; ‘What’s in a name?’ Kerikeri Village Times, March 2015, p. 4.

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