Saturday, 5 May 2018

War Memorials of Rotorua, Pt.2

World War Two and beyond.

Memorial Gardens at Paradise Valley Springs.
See Rotorua Morning Post, 10 Jan 1945 p.5
“Dedicated to Robert Scott Castleton who lost his life on Dec 25th 1943 at Obsonga, Italy. His parents owned the property at the time. On the memorial stone is also the name Blake Scott, a cousin who also gave his life for his country. In the presence of a large gathering of family and friends the ceremony opened with a rendition of Tama Nga Kau Marie by the Maori Choir, followed by three addresses given by his childhood friends. The Rev. A. Panapa performed the dedication ceremony. Ngati Whakaue Chief Tuoro, then spoke of behalf of the Arawa Confederation of Tribes who had gone overseas. The Memorial Stone was then unveiled by Mr I Morrison, President of the Maori Returned Soldiers’ League.”

J-Force – 22 soldiers returned to Rotorua. This included Lieutenant Hinga Grant; Lance Corporals’ Lawrence F. Briggs and Victor Gordon; Gunners’ Stanley S. Cameron and John S. Rowden; Troopers’ Reginald L Cook, Alexander J. Galvin, R. Harris Arthur S Pollock, Paura Maika, Rikihana Rikihana and Roy Treloar; Sergeant Albert Edward Greenland; Signalman K. H. Lewis; Corporal Jack Edward Green; Privates’ Thomas Dinsdale, Errol L. Simonsen, Charles D. Jackson, Stanley H. Knowles and Warrant Officer Thomas W. Worrall who were part of the British Commonwealth Occupational Force when the Japanese surrendered. See Rotorua Post 4.7.1947. .  This is Commemorated on V-J Day.

Te Hokowhitu-A-Tu Memorial Arch at the entrance to Whakarewarewa Village.

Commemorates soldiers of Tuhourangi sub-tribe of the Arawa confederation who had died in the two world wars. Unveiled by Lieutenant-Colonel Fortune in the presence of Prime Minister Fraser.  See "The New Century in Rotorua" by Don Stafford, p.294-295 and Daily Post 24 April 1950, for more information.

“The Anzac Dawn Parade was held at the newly unveiled memorial arch, with Capt. Wi Huata officiating. From there the parade moved off from Arawa Street to the Regent Theatre (Now the Civic Theatre in the Convention Centre Building) where  "...divine service will commence at 10.00am, the march past the Cenotaph will take place at 10.30am. Units will march past in the following order: The Pipe Band, returned women of all services, R.S.A. executive, Citizen's Band, other organisations, and general public..." Excerpt from Daily Post 24/4/1950. 

Memorial Gates & Memorial Park

Officially dedicated 26 April 1958 by Archdeacon R. Hodgson, local Rev. A. Salmond and Mayor Murray Linton. The Rotorua Boys High Cadet Battalion also took part in the ceremony. See Rotorua Post 26 April 1958 for details. 
Photo courtesy of Kete Rotorua

Rebuilt and Restored by Rotorua RSA & Rotorua District Council in Daily Post 24 April 1993, pg.1 

       On Arbor Day of 1955 about 40 people, representing various organisations and also those whose sons were killed overseas, planted Rhododendron & Silver Birch trees in the new War Memorial Park.  See Rotorua Morning Post 4th Aug 1955 p.1

Other Memorials at the Lakefront entrance to War Memorial Drive are: These plaques were put in place in 1993. 

The Malayan Emergency 1948-1960. See Rotorua Post 21.5.1955; 24.5.1955; 1.8.1957; 30.10.1959. Rotorua soldiers at least 32 enrolled to fight in Malaya. Which included the following: D. Trueman ; K. McGregor; George Midwood; N.R. Mackay; V. Ratana; F. Eruini; Desmond P Rogers; F. Clarke; R. Te Kiri; A. Williams; M. Curtis; D. Unsworth; P. Morehu; R. Soloman ; G. O’Rourke.

The Korean War 1950-1957. See Rotorua Post 28.7.1950; 29.7.1950; 31.7.1950; 15.6.1951 and 26.1.1953. Approximately 277 soldiers from Rotorua fought in Korea.
We will Remember Them:
One Rotorua soldier, James Martin Conrad Scahill was killed in action 18 Nov 1951.
Men who served and came home : Gerald Beamish-White; George Te Whetu-Hayward; John Henry Knap served his country in both Korea & Malaya.  

The Vietnam War 1963-1975. See Daily Post 6.7.1965; 30.9.1968; 14.2.1969; 20.4.1970; 20.6.1970; 2.11.1970; 8.3.1972; 19.5.1972 and 9.3.1973.  

Lance Corporal Arohanui Len (Ropeta) Ransfield received the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his energetic and cheerful leadership, courage, coolness and tactical skill while injured himself. To read his story see the following book: ‘The complete New Zealand distinguished conduct medal’ compiled by Alan J. Polaschek. c1983. On the 2nd floor Genealogy Reference collection.

On the 8th October 1972 an Olive Tree was donated by the NZ Veterans of the Battle of Crete and planted at the Lake Front just to the left of the Memorial Gates. 

Redwood Memorial Grove.
The Redwoods (Californian Coast Redwood) were planted c.1901 by good-conduct prisoners. This 6 hectare grove was originally 12 hectares. These surviving  trees were dedicated to the Forestry workers who lost their lives in WW1, in 1925. After WW2 an informal dedication in memory of more Forestry workers who also lost their lives occurred in 1947.

In 1969 Mayor A. Murray Linton 'launched a plea for public to donate towards the development of Redwood Park. See Daily Post 5th August 1969 for the full story.  As part of the new Whakarewarewa State Forest Park it was 'opened' in 1975.  The history of the grove has been written about further in Daily Post 27 December 1979.

Burma Star Memorial
Burma Star Assn. Memorial unveiling on VJ Day at the Lake Front War Memorial Drive. In Daily Post Weekender, 11 & 18 August 2004. 

"Shaky steps and silent tears from staunch ex-soldiers marked the final parade of members of the New Zealand branch of the Burma Star Association.” Daily Post 16 August 2004.

William H.(Bill) Dawson & his granddaughter Flight Sergeant Leeanne Hodges
Photograph courtesy of Jane Gilbert. 
In this photo of Mr Dawson he wears the Burma Star Medal along with other medals he earned during his service in British Merchant Navy WW2. He was president of the local Burma Star Assn. for many years.

Sculpture Symposium Theme ‘The Returning Soldier”. Held at the Arts Village Green from 29th November to 12th December 2014. The Sculpture Trail featured all 17 sculptures until 2016. 

This one entitled 'The Ghost Soldier' by Rory McDougall.

Photograph courtesy of Kete Rotorua
Some sculptures were replaced in 2016; you can see the current sculpture trail at Creative Rotorua

You can see photographs of the other sculptures on Kete Rotorua 

With thanks to the Don Stafford Collection, Papers Past, Daily Post and Kete Rotorua for this information. 

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