Sidebar: Join the army:
*Kathryn Mulinder can be contacted on 06 374 0714 or 027 246 8169, if you would like to join the army of workers or want to learn how to restore graves in your area.
Like any good soldier, Norsewood's Kathryn Mulinder, a member of the New Zealand Remembrance Army, doesn't shirk her duties. Mulinder, the Tararua District co-ordinator for the restoration of war graves, along with other helping hands, has already completed the task at Norsewood's Cemetery. Now she's turning her attention to Dannevirke's Mangatera Cemetery, working on the headstones in the main cemetery, along with those in the Soldier's Sanctuary.
"Norsewood is a task completed and it's very rewarding," Mulinder told the Dannevirke News.
"In Dannevirke I've sprayed all the Great War headstones in the public cemetery and I want all the headstones to have been washed before Anzac Day. I'm hoping my junior army of volunteers will help out because I'm wanting to involve the younger ones who are our future. Although it was easy for me to apply the 'gloop' at Norsewood and come back again early the next morning and wash it off, it's not so simple at Mangatera, so I'm hoping people will step up to help."
Mulinder is keen to organise a working bee for the Dannevirke graves at a later stage. Using her brew of salt, vinegar and flour, which lifts the patina of the plaques on each grave, it's a case of elbow grease to clean and restore the gravestone.
"At Mangatera, most headstones, as in other cemeteries around the country, are standing covered in moss and mould with no regular maintenance and details unreadable. Let's not allow this to continue," Mulinder said.
However, Mulinder said Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis and her council have been very supportive of the project.
"In no way is she or the council being blamed for the condition of these headstones," she said. "Council staff do an excellent job maintaining the grounds and surroundings."
The Remembrance Army is the inspiration of retired Major Simon Stombom who was disturbed to find the grave of a young soldier recently featured in national media was in disrepair. He felt there was a need for an organisation to care for war graves and the NZ Remembrance Army was formed.