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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

Images: Jock Phillips and Chris Maclean, c1986; Andy Palmer, 2012

Text: Alice Meads, 2013

How to cite this page

Tikitiki war memorial, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated