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.’’

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