Tawa war memorial unveiled
More than 100 people gathered near the Tawa RSA for the unveiling and dedication of the Tawa Memorial.
The memorial commemorates the 13 Tawa soldiers who gave their lives while serving in the South African War and two World Wars.
It has taken the Tawa Historical Society more than a decade to get approval for the memorial at the northern end of Oxford St adjacent to Grasslees Reserve. It features extensive paving, landscaping and plenty of seating and is estimated to have cost $170,000.
The unveiling on April 23 was attended by local MP Peter Dunne, northern ward city councillors Jill Day, Malcolm Sparrow and Peter Gilberd, and included speeches by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and Air ViceMarshall Kevin Short of the RNZAF.
The Air Vice-Marshall said the memorial was a great addition to the community. ’’Tawa now has a fitting place to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of its service personnel, a place of reflection and a focal point for commemoration. In small communities such as Tawa the loss of these men would have affected everyone.’’
The mayor praised the Tawa community for its dedication to the project over such a long period as well as the togetherness they showed.
Historical Society chairperson Bruce Murray told the audience the stories of two of the fallen men, William Clachan and Milton Mexted, who died and were buried abroad, but whose memory had now been brought back to their home community via the memorial.
He had chosen the date for the unveiling as it was exactly 112 years to the day since Mexted was born.
RSA members, volunteers and community-based offenders worked side by side to tidy up graves and lay poppies at Whenua Tapu Cemetery last week. Department of Corrections operations director George Henderson said Anzac Day was a good opportunity for offenders to give back to the community. ‘‘For the last 8 years or so we’ve partnered with Porirua RSA to place poppies with a sprig of rosemary on the graves of the fallen servicemen and women.’’ Pictured with poppies are, from left: Lindsay Skinner, welfare officer, Porirua RSA; John Hannan, welfare visitor, Porirua RSA, and Melanie Roy, service manager, Porirua.