Central HB: Memorial plaque gets flak from customers

By Nicki Harper

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Visitors to Espresso Loco cafe in Waipukurau have been airing their displeasure at the placement of this memorial plaque.
Visitors to Espresso Loco cafe in Waipukurau have been airing their displeasure at the placement of this memorial plaque.

It's not only coffee brewing at a Waipukurau cafe where the owner and many of her customers are steaming about a recently installed memorial plaque.

Espresso Loco is located at the Waipukurau Railway Station where this week a large limestone rock bearing a plaque recognising the sacrifice the local Bogle family made in World War I has been placed in one of the small gardens opposite the cafe.

The street the cafe is on had its name changed from Railway Esplanade to Bogle Brothers Esplanade last year. Three brothers in the family, George, Gilbert and Gordon, all died while fighting overseas between 1915 and 1917.

At the time of the name change on Armistice Day last year, Central Hawke's Bay mayor Peter Butler said a plaque would be installed at the railway station and this week it arrived, but its placement has caused ructions.

Cafe owner Ness Cotterill said that initially the council planned to put the plaque on the wall of the railway station attached to her business.

"I asked them not to put it there - this wall is not a memorial, it's a wall of a business," she said.

When she opened up the cafe on Monday morning, she discovered that instead the plaque had been positioned on a rock and put into one of several gardens out the front of the cafe.

"The first three people to get out of their car and order a coffee went 'what is that?' and asked if it would be removed again after Anzac Day," she said.

She decided to allow people to have an opportunity to air their views on paper and as of Tuesday this week she had already collected more than 100 signatures and comments.

These comments included feedback such as: "It kind of looks 'plonked'," "it needs to be facing the road", "it's too big for the garden and needs a backdrop", "it's ugly", "it's undignified", "it looks cheap and nasty and is disrespectful as a monument".

They also noted that the plaque was crooked.

Ms Cotterill said she decided not to put together a petition as she was unlikely to get the number of signatures required, opting for a "forum" instead so she could show Mr Butler "what a consultation process actually is".

Mr Butler said that was her point of view and she had every right to express it, but he thought a fabulous job had been done.

"We talked to her about putting it on the wall, she didn't want that so we put it somewhere else. It's a council garden, it's not her's, and I have no problem with it, I think she's being negative."

He thanked the volunteers and businesses that had installed the commemorative rock and plaque for no charge, in time for Anzac Day.

He said these were Hatuma Lime, Hatuma Engineering, Allan Brown, Higgins Concrete, the Central Hawke's Bay District Council, and especially Tony Masemann. "Once again I thank you all for helping us remember this outstanding family's contribution to keep New Zealand a democracy."

Ms Cotterill said she planned to send the signatures and comments, which were still being added this week, to all the CHB district councillors.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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