Ōkato South African War memorials

Stone obelisk with buildings, trees and mountain in the background

Detail from memorial Stone obelisk with cemetery graves and headstones in background Wooden building viewed from roadside Wooden board with gold lettering

This memorial (a four-sided granite column surmounted by a funerary urn)  was unveiled at the Ōkato cemetery on 11 October 1900. Dedicated to the memory of Thomas Alexander Hempton, who had died in South Africa on 4 April 1900, it was one of New Zealand's earliest South African War memorials.

Trooper Hempton was also later honoured by the naming of the town's drill hall as the Hempton Hall. This was opened in March 1904 on a section donated to the township by his mother.

A wooden tablet inside the hall refers to the origin of its name (dating this at May [sic] 1904); also to a portrait of Queen Alexandra, which was presented to Mrs Hempton at the opening of the hall. The portrait was placed in the hall after Mrs Hempton's death in 1934, but is no longer in view.

See: 'Taranaki News', Star (Christchurch), 11/10/1900, p. 3; 'Country news: Okato', Taranaki Daily News, 14/3/1904, p. 2; 'Gift of 30 years ago: picture in Hempton hall', Taranaki Daily News, 7/9/1934, p. 7.


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