Commemorations of first bi-lingual war memorial

By Dean Nathan

Land Information Minister Hon Louise Upston has rededicated the recently restored 'Angel Memorial' exactly 100 years after the memorial was first unveiled on March 24 in 1916. Today's ceremony was one of the first WWI memorial centenary events in NZ because the Kaitaia memorial was commissioned and dedicated before the war ended.

A hundred years on the memorial is re-dedications to the soldiers who went to the WWl.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis says, “What's important is that they've added the names of those that were left out on the original memorial and added them onto to the stone.”

NZ First MP for the Northland region, Winston Peters says the youth voice is strong, “The people who want to keep the flag are people under 29 years of age and over 18.  Isn't it tremendous that our young people remember, even if some of our old people have forgotten the importance of it.”

Leonard Busby from Te Rarawa was acknowledged for leading the commissioning of this memorial for the district.  Today his descendant quoted Sir Maui Pomare's words to the people gathered here on that occasion.

"It wasn't that long ago Māori and Pākehā were at war with each other.  But now both Māori and Pākehā are fighting side by side for our King," says Hekenukumai Busby.

Veteran Selwyn Clarke says “Despite that the fight for our land continues today.  It continues and it will not end."

This memorial was erected as the WWI was being played out. And it's said to be the first known bi-lingual war memorial in this country. 

“Its unique around the country for a hundred years ago and I think it’s particularly poignant and a really important message to reinforce that concept of togetherness because we know, the soldiers that fought over there fought side by side and died side by side,” says Louise Upston the Associate Minister of Local Government.

Davis says the location of the memorial is fitting, “It's a beautiful place for this community to remember those who went to war and fought for us.”

Today we remember those who fought for this country.