A living memorial to fallen Kiwis
Matamata- Piako Mayor Jan Barnes has unveiled Matamata’s Memorial Garden – a fitting tribute to those who never returned from war.
The dedication of the commemorative garden on the corner of Arawa St and Broadway took place on April 24.
Barnes said council staff had put a lot of effort into having three dedicated memorial gardens in the district.
Earlier on Friday, she unveiled the gardens in Te Aroha and Morrinsville, before hosting the small ceremony outside Osteria Da Gino to officially open the Matamata garden.
Barnes said the council was asked to prepare and plant the gardens, and while there wasn’t a lot happening at the moment, ‘‘the rosemary is just starting to flower, and the Gallipoli rose is the other plant in there, and that will be a lovely flat rose that will flower in the spring’’.
‘‘They are the two official plants that were growing on the Gallipoli Peninsula, so we felt that it was very fitting and very symbolic to be growing here in such a prominent place.’’
She said it was also a special moment to unveil the garden, as it was 100 years since the Gallipoli landings. ‘‘We have a lot to be thankful for in our community, and I think this is the way the community can speak.’’
At the unveiling, Matamata RSA president Graeme Waterson said the community was indebted to the council for taking to heart the idea of commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.
Waterson also spoke of the white crosses that have been erected outside the Matamata Memorial Centre this year. The crosses, created last year, represent those from the area who went to war and never returned.
He said the project wasn’t about glorifying war. ‘‘It’s a matter of honouring those people that gave their lives and were not able to come back and further the community.
‘‘They left it to their relatives, their friends to give us the country we have today. It really was a great loss out of the population.’’
Barnes said the quite poignant.
‘‘They each tell a story, and behind those crosses are loved families of the person. It is a time of reflection, as 100 years ago was not that long ago.’’
Matamata-Piako Mayor Jan Barnes unveils the Memorial Garden on the corner of Arawa St and Broadway on Friday afternoon.
Matamata’s Memorial Garden features Gallipoli rose and rosemary.