Whakatāne War Memorial Hall

Memorial Memorial Memorial Memorial Memorial

Whakatāne Borough’s First World War memorial was unveiled in the Strand on 4 December 1920. The four-sided column of Kakaka rough-cast granite was inset with polished marble slabs, one of which was inscribed, “Erected by the citizens of Whakatane to the memory of our brave boys who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, 1914-18” (along with the date 11 November 1920). The design made allowance for three lamps to be mounted at the top of the column.

The memorial did not incorporate a roll of honour. However, a civic roll of honour containing the names of 68 local men who had fallen in the war was unveiled in the newly built Whakatāne Hospital on 27 April 1924.

The Whakatāne and District War Memorial Hall was formally opened on 14 May 1955. Black marble plaques inscribed with the names of 71 men from the district who had made the supreme sacrifice during the First World War and 139 men from the Second World War were placed on either side of the front entrance. In the case of the First World War, Māori and European names were listed separately.

The Whakatāne Borough First World War memorial was later resited outside the war memorial hall, where it was rededicated to the memory of all fallen servicemen from Whakatāne and district. It initially stood on the left-hand side of the entrance, but was later moved to the right-hand side, where it remains today. A memorial rose garden has been planted behind. Two names from the Vietnam War have been added to the roll of honour outside the hall.

Sources: ‘Whakatane Memorial’, Auckland Star, 4/12/1920, p. 13; ‘Whakatane Memorial: Honours Roll Unveiled’, Auckland Star, 29/4/1924, p. 8; ‘Memorial Hall Opened’, NZ Herald, 16/5/1955, p. 10; A.D. Mabon, Whakatane 1917-1967, Whakatane, 1967, pp. 2, 11, 54.

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