Tapu & District War Memorial Hall

Tapu & District War Memorial Hall

Low white wall with six brass plaques fixed to it. Close up view of brass plaque with writing on it. Close up view of brass plaque with four military crests on it. Close up view of brass plaque with names, military service numbers, and date of deaths listed on it.

In the late 1920s the residents of Tapu, a small coastal mining town north of Thames, began raising funds for a war memorial park. This led to the acquisition or extension of the Tapu Flat Domain, part of which was referred to locally as 'Tapu Memorial Park', although there is no record of any opening ceremony being held.

As early as 1931 it was proposed to build a memorial hall as well. However, the Depression years and another war intervened, and construction did not begin until 1948. Finally, on 6 September 1949, Minister of Internal Affairs W.E. Parry formally opened the Tapu & District War Memorial Hall. Rolls of honour for the First and Second World Wars (not pictured here) were unveiled inside the hall.

On 23 April 2000, a new memorial was dedicated outside the hall. This was funded by the King's Empire Veterans Association. It consisted of a low concrete wall inset with a flagpole and adorned with several bronze plaques. The central plaque, which displayed the coats of arms of the King's Empire Veterans and the three branches of the New Zealand armed forces, was flanked by a dedicatory plaque and a roll of honour. The text of the dedication read: THESE NEW ZEALANDERS DIED IN THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM. / LET US HOLD THEM IN REVERENCE FOR / ALL ETERNITY. MAY THIS MEMORIAL BE ALWAYS / A REMINDER OF THE FUTILITY OF WAR, THE HURT /  TO ALL HUMANITY, AND THE WASTAGE AND CARNAGE / WHICH IS THE FINAL RESULT OF EMBITTERED / DISPUTES THAT ERUPT INTO BATTLES OUT OF HAND. / LET PEACE EVER BE OUR WAY OF LIFE.

The roll of honour listed the names of eight local men who had made the supreme sacrifice: L.M. Tarrant in the South African War; 'Tiger' Hamilton, R. Hawkes, D. Moore, G. Wenzlick and H.R. Williams in the First World War; and G. Goad and A.N. Saward in the Second World War.

See: 'Tapu Memorial Park', Thames Star, 20/3/1930, 'Thames County', Thames Star, 17/12/1931, p. 3; 'County affairs', Thames Star, 20/7/1932, p. 3; NZ Gazette, 1932, pp. 1595-6, 1844; 'Area for domain', NZ Herald, 12/4/1933, p. 13; 'Hospital districts ... hall for Tapu', Thames Star, 13/11/1936, p. 2; 'Tapu hall opened: special ceremony', Thames Star, 7/9/1949, p. 2; Bryan McMahon, 'Tapu hall' [t/s], n.d. (The Treasury, Thames); Tapu-Kereta School and District Reunion, 18??-1979, Thames, 1979, pp. 31-2; 'Tapu cenotaph consecration', King's Empire Veterans [Thames Branch] News, 1 June 2000, p. 1 (copy at The Treasury).

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