Kaitaia WWI memorial re-dedicated

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Minister for Land Information and Associate Minister for Local Government Louise Upston stands with head bowed alongside MC Terrence McConnell at the base of the Angel memorial after its re-dedication last week in Kaitaia. Photo / Mike Barrington
Minister for Land Information and Associate Minister for Local Government Louise Upston stands with head bowed alongside MC Terrence McConnell at the base of the Angel memorial after its re-dedication last week in Kaitaia. Photo / Mike Barrington

Clear skies led to the Angel memorial centenary commemoration ending with an outdoors re-dedication in Remembrance Park after an earlier indoor ceremony in the Te Ahu Centre at Kaitaia.

The commemoration was moved indoors from the park after heavy rain in the Far North last Wednesday. The Te Ahu Centre main hall was packed when the ceremony got under way on Thursday, with Kaitaia College students excelling with rousing haka and waiata, a moving memorial address from Allana Yerkovich and a solemn formal roll call of Far North World War I dead. The big college contribution to the centenary was acknowledged by speakers who noted many of today's students were about the same age as the young Te Hiku men and women who had died in wars over the past 100 years.

Far North mayor John Carter thanked the college students and teachers, Raymond Beatson and the Kaitaia War Memorial Restoration Group, Lawrie Atkinson and the Te Hiku Community Board and the mayor named many others in a bid to express community gratitude towards all those who had worked towards getting the Angel ready for her centenary.

Eight wreaths were laid and Navy bugler Able Musician Matthew Stein sounded the Last Post before Far North (Kaitaia) RSA representatives Wynn Wells and Arthur Simeon read the Ode to the Fallen in English and te reo Maori and the crowd stood respectfully for one minute's silence to be observed.

There was a slight hitch in proceedings with MC Terrence McConnell letting the minute linger on into three, but Able Musician Stein was soon sounding Rouse and Minister for Land Information and Associate Minister for Local Government Louise Upston made her address for the memorial unveiling and re-dedication to follow at Remembrance Park.

She spoke of the poetic nature of the inscription on the memorial, the effects of war on small communities, and she commended the efforts made in Kaitaia to revive the memorial and ensure the sacrifice made by local men who fought in the Great War was not forgotten.

With no sign of the earlier rain threatening, the crowd trooped around to Remembrance Park where Ms Upston unveiled the new bronze plaque on the Angel and Padre Kevin Herewini re-dedicated the memorial with prayers.

- Northern Advocate

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