Canterbury marae remembers their fallen heroes

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Ngāi Tūāhuriri marae of Tuahiwi in North Canterbury will commemorate their ancestors who fought in World Wars I and II tomorrow.

Over 20 fallen veterans will be honoured at their annual afternoon memorial service, held at the marae cemetery of Uruti.

Ngāi Tūāhuriri descendants are continuing to keep the memories of their ancestral heroes alive.

“If it wasn't for them we wouldn't be here now and so every year- although they have all gone, of course, those from World War have all gone,” says Koral Gallagher (Ngāi Tūāhuriri), “we still remember them, we still commemorate their effort to make this place safe for us to continue”.

Gallagher says remembering their loved ones in this way has been a practice she can remember as a young girl, however her role was behind the scenes.

“In my younger years, I've been back at the marae helping out in the wharekai.  We had other elders, other kaumātua who were doing this”.

Eleven ancestors from the marae fought in World War I, twelve fought in the Second World War.  Although they have passed away, their legacy continues.

“Some of our people have been named after certain places, like, I have an aunty Alamein, who was named after El Alamein,” said Gallagher.

“And I also have a whanaunga of mine, Crete”.

Tomorrow morning locals will attend ANZAC dawn services around Christchurch. Then, in keeping with tradition, they will return to the marae cemetery, where they will lay a wreath at the cenotaph, at 2pm.

Gallagher says the tradition will continue to be upheld for and by future generations to come.