Paengaroa School memorial baths

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The tiny Bay of Plenty town of Paengaroa did not erect its own First World War memorial. However, the school’s jubilee history lists three men from the district who gave their lives during the war: William Clements, Fred Monns and James Mangan. It also lists the names of six local men who died in the Second World War: Terence Vercoe, Alan Riddell, Stan Steel, John Wilkins, Arthur Bullock and Tim Hamlyn. Four of these men were commemorated on a plaque installed outside the Paengaroa School memorial swimming baths after the war: “Paengaroa School / Memorial Baths / Roll of Honour / S.D. Steel / T.J. Vercoe / J.K. Wilkins / A.W. Riddell.” The swimming pool has been rebuilt since, but the granite plaque is still on display.

Neither the old Paengaroa hall, opened in 1923, nor its replacement, the Paengaroa community hall, opened in 1971, were built as war memorial halls. However, in recent years the Te Puke RSA Charitable Trust has erected a memorial stone outside the latter with a plaque bearing the following inscription: “In Memory of those from the / Paengaroa District / who lost their lives / during World Conflicts”. This can be found at 4 Old Coach Road, Paengaroa.

Sources: Roy Haig McKenzie, Paengaroa Then and Now: 50th Year Jubilee of the Paengaroa School, Tauranga, 1956, pp. 62-3, 66; Christine Clement, Te Puke and District World War One Memorial, Te Puke, 2013, p. 98.

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