New roll of honour for Peria

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Ray Olsen (left), his wife Claire (Peria School) and Vietnam veteran Ritchie Taaffe with the old and new Peria rolls of honour.
Ray Olsen (left), his wife Claire (Peria School) and Vietnam veteran Ritchie Taaffe with the old and new Peria rolls of honour.

Like countless small communities throughout New Zealand, Peria and District (inland from Taipa) made a significant contribution to defending King and Country in 1914-18 and again in 1939-45. And like countless other small communities it has long had a roll of honour.

Peria's beautifully-made memorial for those who served in World War II has seen better days though. It was mounted on a wall in the original classroom, but has faded to the point where it is barely readable, and had largely been forgotten.

That began to change when Vietnam veteran Ritchie Taaffe saw it. He planted the seed, Peria resident Ray Olsen said last week, and the result was a brand new board, crafted by Brendan Shine and completed by Signs of Life in Kaitaia.

The Peria A&P Association paid for it, as another contribution to its community.

Mr Olsen was hoping that the new roll would be mounted at Oruru's Swamp Palace, perhaps in the foyer, where more people would see it than was the case with the original, which has been returned to the school.

The roll names all from Peria and District who served in World War II, with stars marking the 10 who were killed in action, and, unlike the original, four who gave their lives in World War I.

The new roll of honour, destined to be mounted at the Swamp Palace.
The new roll of honour, destined to be mounted at the Swamp Palace.

- Northland Age

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