New ‘Poppy Places’ pop up in Awat­apu

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RICHARD MAYS

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.

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