New ‘Poppy Places’ pop up in Awatapu
Poppy Places, a national street recognition project that identifies and commemorates those who served in the armed forces overseas, has just embellished nine city street signs with the poppy symbol.
Back in 1965, the new subdivision that centred around Awatapu College had nine of its streets named after members of 28th Maori Battalion.
City Library heritage team researcher and Massey graduate Evan Greensides spent two years looking into the stories of the battalion members who trained at the Palmerston North Showgrounds in 1940 as part of the first and second echelons.
‘‘None of these men came from Palmerston North - the nearest was Major Hamuera Paul Te Punga [for whom Te Punga Pl is named] who came from Halcombe. But they trained here,’’ Greensides said.
‘‘The street names were from a list provided by Lieutenant Colonel George Dittmer, the battalion’s commanding officer.’’
Dittmer Dr is named after the Lieutenant Colonel.
Other streets in the neighbour- hood are: Anaru Pl, named for Major Wi Patene Anaru; Henare St, for Lieutenant Colonel James He¯nare; Huata Pl, for Military Cross winner Padre Wi Huata; Katene St, after Lieutenant George Katene; Pitama Rd, for Military Medal winner Sergeant Eutahi Tahu Mataa Pitama; Ruha St, after Lance Sergeant Harold Ruha Ngarimu; and Wikiriwhi Cres after Captain Matarehua Wikiriwhi, DSO.
Greensides has researched and collated their stories for the online Manawatu Heritage, the City Library archives website.
Momentum for the Poppy Places project was provided by local businessman, Steve Parsons, Greensides said.
‘‘This was a perfect fit for me. I love history, and as an archivist with access to the material, it worked out really well.’’
The city librarian said his findings would be added to the archives and available for future researchers.
The nine 28th Maori Battalion street names were phase two of the Poppy Places project following the identification in 2015 of the six streets with names that have WWI origins.
A further six streets named after VC winners, would be similarly identified next year, Greensides said.
Maori Battalion Hall on the corner of Pitt and Cuba, the Anzac Club on Cuba and George, and Memorial Park in Main would be incorporated in 2018.
He said Palmerston North was leading 18 other centres in researching and installing its Poppy Places signs.
City Library researcher and archivist Evan Greensides has identified streets named after those who served overseas.