Ōtorohanga war memorial

Ōtorohanga war memorial

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The prominently sited war memorial in Memorial Park, Ōtorohanga, pays tribute to the district’s fallen servicemen of both world wars.

The First World War memorial obelisk was unveiled by local MP W.T. Jennings on 24 April 1922. The 24-feet high grey granite structure was inscribed with the names of 58 men from the district who had given their lives. Originally situated beside Ranfurly Street, it was moved a short distance to its present position facing Maniapoto Street in April 1960.

On 14 November 1959 the Minister of Internal Affairs, W.T. Anderton, opened the town’s Second World War memorial: a swimming pool and an open-air memorial court situated on a hillside ledge overlooking Kakamutu Road. A bronze dedicatory plaque placed in the court read: IN GRATEFUL MEMORY / OF / THOSE FROM THIS DISTRICT / WHO GAVE THIE LIVES / IN THE SERVICE OF / THEIR COUNTRY / AS MEMBERS OF / THE ARMED FORCES / IN TIME OF WAR. Two further plaques listed the names of 32 local men who had given their lives. A smaller plaque with the names of two Vietnam servicemen was later added.

The swimming pool was tendered out to a private company in May 1999. It has been altered and expanded since, and today only the name (‘Ōtorohanga Memorial Pool Complex’) provides a reminder of its former purpose. The memorial court which used to stand nearby has gone. In August 2001 the Ōtorohanga District Council approved plans to move the Second World War memorial to the site of the First World War memorial. A new memorial court was subsequently built alongside the obelisk. On 17 April 2003 a ceremony was held to bless the relocation.

In or around March 2018 the long-neglected remains of the original memorial court were removed and the site was grassed over.

See: ‘War Memorials’, NZ Herald, 26/4/1922, p. 9; ‘War Memorial Opened in Otorahanga’, NZ Herald, 16/11/1959, p. 9; Helen Mary Quin, A Short History and Memories of Otorohanga, Otorohanga, 1961, pp. 76, 78-81; Footsteps through Time, comp. Nan Owen, 3rd ed., Otorohanga, 2009.

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