Honouring Napier's war dead

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

A group of Napier residents are fighting to see the return of the roll of honour memorial that was demolished during the build of the new Napier Conference Centre.

The roll had more than 600 names on it, all soldiers from Napier who died in war.

"What we want to see is the restoration of the war memorial on the war memorial site. The whole site from footpath to shingle on the beach. This is the site that was set apart for war memorial in 1950s," says Alan Rhodes, part of group of Napier residents calling themselves the War Memorial Recovery Group.

The Napier War Memorial was built in 1957 and in 2015 it became an earthquake risk and was demolished and completely rebuilt, but without a roll of honour or the eternal flame.

"During that time we took out the wall of remembrance which had been built around and was no longer accessible to the public, we took it out and we're going to put it back in a place that is accessible to the public," says Bill Dalton, Napier Mayor.

Rhodes says a new roll of honour must be a part of the conference site- not detached- and the name Napier War Memorial should be reinstated.

"A tortoise moves faster than what the council and the mayor are doing on this one at the moment," he says.

"The wall of remembrance or the roll of honour, or call it what you will, was on the outside of the building.  It was a simple curved wall with some plaques on it and now they're wanting to build the Taj Mahal on Marine Parade and it's simply unrealistic," explains the Mayor.

Designs are underway for the new roll but just how and where that will be is yet to be determined.