Catholic ban lifts after 67 years
It was 1950, and the parishioners of St Alban’s Church were planning a memorial.
Made of heart rimu, an honours board immortalising the district’s World War II soldiers would hang on the wall of the little Anglican church in Pauatahanui, Porirua.
Names had been gathered, the design drawn up and everything was ready ... until the vicar brought everything to a screaming halt.
Catholics. Two or three of those who went to the war were Catholics, and he wouldn’t have their names in his church.
So the plans were shelved and forgotten, hidden away in the church’s archives until 2010, when Margaret Blair stumbled across them while sorting paperwork.
She gave the original plans, and the letter accompanying them, to the archives of Alexander Turnbull Library, but she never stopped thinking about the honours board.
‘‘During one Anzac service at the church, I turned to my husband and said I felt those names should be here alongside the ones from WWI.’’
Last week – 67 years after Reverand Maurice Pirani’s objection scuppered the project – that board was hung in St Alban’s, in a ceremony attended by family members of the 23 men honoured on it.
It was made to the original 1950 design by David Kirkland, and funded by Plimmerton’s St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Porirua RSA, Pauatahanui Residents’ Association, and families whose names are on the board. Ruth Galloway said she was immensely proud to see the name of her father, Wallace Galloway, carved into the wood. ‘‘I know my dad would have been proud his name was up there.’’