A refurbished memorial to a fallen Rangitikei Boer War solider now stands at Marton Park thanks to a four-year community effort.
The Boer War Memorial was originally installed and funded in 1902 by Marton Borough Council but after many years of paint chips and damage the people of Marton decided it deserved a new lease of life.
The project was first taken up by Marton RSA president Alan Buckendahl and member Barry Rankin after attending a series of forums held by the Rangitikei District Council to decide the fate and restoration the Marton Park Management Plan.
Buckendahl said although the war memorial was conceived and constructed before the formation of the RSAs in New Zealand both he and Rankin were long-term Marton residents and were concerned that without some serious restoration the memorial would be deemed as "beyond help".
"Marton RSA also feels linked to Marton Memorial Park through the presence of the significant WWI Cenotaph, and in recent years funded the installation of two flagpoles in front of the Cenotaph."
In 2016, the Marton RSA committee decided to start funding for the project with a grant of $4000 raised through a raffle.
Project Marton then stepped in and approached the council for further funding and by 2018 the committee had received quotations of more than $40,000 for the work.
"The council initially rejected the RSA opinion that restoration of the stonework could be handled by a local business, and insisted that through Heritage NZ a monumentalist from the Wellington region be asked to quote, and subsequently accepted a quotation of $24,380 including a contingency amount of $3450.
"Unfortunately, once this firm was ready to proceed and asked for 50 per cent upfront, the business went into voluntary liquidation within days of receiving the deposit."
He said at this stage the RSA decided to "go it alone" and was very lucky it had the support from Peter and Darryl Cousins, owners of Permanite Full Colour Monuments in Marton, who could remove all of the many layers of council-applied paint, replacing the commemorative plaques, and protecting the resultant memorial with a clear coating.
During this time the RSA continued to fundraise and received a significant grant from the Dudding Trust.
"This was added to by a number of very generous donations from RSA members, community organisations and locals."
Other locals such as Robert Gunn and Ashley Williams of The Downs Group offered their support and contributed a part of the cost of new LED lights and installation.
And local business Shane Gribbon Contracting donated its time with trenching and wiring the new monument.
Like many other construction projects, Covid-19 halted the lighting process but on July 17, after many, many years, Buckendahl said they were excited to announce "there is light atop Marton's once-again impressive Boer War-Trooper Hyde-King Edward VII Coronation-Peace in South Africa memorial."
He said the Marton RSA has no ownership or responsibility for the monument but is proud to have driven the project through to completion.
The monument was originally funded by Marton Borough Council in the early 1900s.
Cath Ash from Project Marton said they were also proud to be apart of getting it through to the completion stage.
Rangitikei District Council and Alf Downes Group also supported the project.