A memorial to the men and women of Te Arawa who served in almost 100 years of conflicts for their country has been officially unveiled.
During an intimate ceremony yesterday at Muruika Cemetery in Ohinemutu, about a dozen returned servicemen and 30 family and friends gathered to remember those who had laid down their lives in defence of their country.
Six plaques representing and commemorating the people of Te Arawa who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam were unveiled during the ceremony organised by the Muruika Ahuwhenua Urupa Trust.
The plaques were placed on the side of the obelisk near the entrance to the cemetery in time for Anzac Day, when the site will be lit up for the dawn parade.
Funding for the memorial was made available by First Sovereign trust.
First Sovereign trustee and Malaya veteran Peter Anaru said he was proud of the memorial that would now tell part of the story of all those people from Te Arawa who fought overseas.
"Until today the obelisk was just an object that for me had no real meaning. Now it means something to everybody who comes here," he said.
The Vicar of St Faiths, the Rev Tom Poata, conducted a short service.
"This obelisk has four sides, as our men and women served in all four corners of the world," he said.
Rotorua RSA president Peter Gallacher said it was good to see the work of the cemetery's trustees coming to fruition.
"A lot of people visit this place and now they can see some of our history. To me it's a living monument ... as the cemetery is still able to hold the remains of past soldiers," Mr Gallacher said.
Muruika Ahuwhenua Urupa trustee John Marsh led the ceremony, saying the obelisk was now a monument with purpose.
"The intent of war memorials is not to glorify war, but to honour those who served their country in the defence forces.
"Visitors will be able to identify the contributions made by iwi, whanau and this village [Ohinemutu] in seeking resolutions to maintain the order of world peace," Mr Marsh said.
A new palisade was also built on the site that, in the future, will carry carved images of all of the commanders of the 28th Maori Battalion.