Tikitiki war memorial


Tikitiki war memorial, circa 1986 and 2012.

About the Tikitiki memorial

The Tikitiki war memorial commemorates Māori men from the East Coast between Paritū (south of Gisborne) and Tarakeha/Torere (east of Ōpōtiki) who served in the First World War. Governor-General Sir Charles Fergusson unveiled the memorial on 16 February 1926. The memorial commemorates all those who served.

Located on the hillside above St Mary’s church, the marble memorial depicts a Māori soldier with rifle and lemon-squeezer hat. Standing on a granite pedestal, he looks east towards the mouth of the sacred Waiapu River and the Pacific Ocean.

The memorial was unveiled on the same day as the consecration of St Mary’s. Up to 5000 people gathered at Tikitiki for the occasion, including chiefs from all over the North Island, Ngāti Porou leader Apirana Ngata, Prime Minister Gordon Coates, Governor-General Sir Charles Fergusson, Cabinet minister Sir Māui Pōmare, and Māori health advocate and former Cabinet minister Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa). Speaking at the memorial’s unveiling, Sir Charles Fergusson acknowledged the East Coast’s great loss during the war. 87 men had been killed – one in five of those who served. A roll of honour inside the church lists their names.

Further information

  • ‘Great Maori Gathering’, Poverty Bay Herald, 17 February 1926, p. 14
  • Great Maori Hui’, Auckland Star, 17 February 1926, p. 14
  •  Peter Quinn and Kennedy Warne, ‘Lest we forget: preserving a historic church’, New Zealand Geographic, September/October 2002, no. 59, pp. 22–34

Community contributions

4 comments have been posted about Tikitiki war memorial

What do you know?

Delwyn Pearl Edwards

Posted: 01 Aug 2019

Hi Alexander my Grandmother is also Hukarere wawatai from Rangitukia I met her once and her son Jack wawatai in Gisborne.
My Grandfather is Tautuhi Sadlier from whakawhitira Tina Toka Marae.

My mothers name Ngarangi kapitiao Sadlier (Edwards)

At birth my Grandmother Hukarere Wawatai gave my mother to the father Tautuhi Sadlier whanau and she was bought up by Tautuhi brother Dave Rewiti Sadlier.

I was very fortunate to know and meet my Grandmother Hukarere I do not know much about my wawatai whanau my mother would have been 75 Yr old now sadly my mum past away 1978.


Posted: 19 Aug 2009

Kia ora Alexander Is this of any help?: Isaac Wawatai on 28 Moari Battalion site
His mother is listed as H Wawatai from Tikitiki
There are two other Wawatai's on this roll here

Alexander Wawatai

Posted: 19 Aug 2009

Kia ora and Hello.Im try to find out who my Grandfather is which is my Dads Dad?My Gradmother was Hukarere Wawatai and is past on now and I am trying to found out who my Grandfather is. I only know little of him and cant seem to get a straight answer.He might of been in the Navy or the Airforce but I know that he wasnt from New Zealand but from over seas. My Grandmother was in the Airforce. I do remember when Mum asked my Nan who my Dads Dad ia and my Nan told her it dosent matter now he is dead.My father was never told by his mum who he is. If anyone knows anything please let me know.Thank you very much for any contact.

Margaret Burke

Posted: 22 Jan 2009

I would like to make contact with anyone who recognises my grandmother's name on theRoll of Honout at the Tikitiki Memorial Church. Her name is in capital letters across the bottom of the Roll of Honour CAPT MARGARET ALICE SCOTT M.I.D. (2) Her home in Middlesex in England was used as a home away from home for Maori soldiers on leave from the Pioneer Bn. I have a photo taken of a soldier in uniform with my 4 year old father and would like to strike a link with his family if possible. We think his surname was Ratana and he was from the East Coast. Thank you very much for any contact.