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Whakatāne war memorial (Pōhaturoa)


On Anzac Day 1927 the historic rock Pōhaturoa, near the centre of the town, was dedicated as a Rock of Remembrance to Māori and European soldiers who died during the First World War. The Minister of Public Works, K.S. Williams, unveiled a tablet of black granite set into one side of the rock. This was embellished with representations of a rifle and a taiaha and inscribed with the words: 'Pohaturoa / a Rock of Remembrance of / those of this county / who fell in the Great War / 1914-1919. / He Mata Mahora no te Ara Whanui a / Tane.' The Reverends Lambert, Bawden, Sutherland, Holloway and Te Waaka dedicated the rock.

This was the official Whakatāne County memorial. (The Whakatāne Borough First World War memorial was unveiled in the Strand in November 1920, and later resited outside the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall.)

The Whakatāne memorial restroom on the other side of the rock was formally opened by the Duke of Gloucester on 21 December 1934. This incorporated a memorial stone listing 10 Ngāti Awa men who died during the war and 36 others who served.

Not far away stands a memorial to Te Hurunui Apanui, a paramount chief of the district, who died on 24 May 1924.

Sources: ‘Anzac Day in Country: Impressive Services: Ceremony at Whakatane’, NZ Herald, 27/4/1927, p. 16; ‘Rock of Pohaturoa’, Auckland Star, 27/4/1927, p. 19; H.D. London, ‘Pohaturoa Rock, Whakatane’, Historical Review, vol. 11, no. 1, March 1963, pp. 28-32; A.D. Mabon, Whakatane 1917-1967, Whakatane, 1967, p. 2.


Jock Phillips and Chris Maclean

Bruce Ringer, Auckland Libraries, 2015

How to cite this page

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