When Mick O’Carroll moved into town last year he noticed something was missing.
“We don’t have a place for locals to gather and pay their respects to those who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom today,” says Mick.
He took it up with Councillor Steve Morris, who agrees with him.
“Driving through small towns in New Zealand you’ll notice they all have war memorials commemorating local men. My second great-uncle’s name is on the memorial at Kaitieke, population less than 100. Papamoa, population 26,000, doesn’t have one. What better place than the Papamoa Domain?” says Steve.
Papamoa didn’t exist as a town during the wars that resulted in war memorials becoming part of the street furniture of older communities across the country.
There are war memorials in Katikati, Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and memorial halls scattered across the Western Bay district, but not in Papamoa.
There are now 26,000 people living in Papamoa, including 1466 members of the Mount Maunganui RSA’s total membership of 5330.
The Mount RSA took on the project and made a submission to the Tauranga City Council.
“The executive agrees that a memorial at the beautiful Papamoa Domain would be a fitting place of reflection. A total of 1466 members out of our total membership of 5330 live in Papamoa; many within a close distance of the Domain,” says Mount RSA President, Derek Williams.
The board of Papamoa iwi Nga Potiki is also enthusiastic about the memorial.
“It’s important that the memorial acknowledges the large number of Nga Potiki men who volunteered in both world wars and subsequent conflicts,” says Steve Morris.
“I then asked my colleagues at Tauranga City Council if they would support the use of public land at the Papamoa Domain for this purpose. They agreed wholeheartedly, every one of them.”
The memorial will honour all those who served in the three armed forces and the merchant navy. No ratepayer funding is sought. The $18,000 project will be entirely funded through donations with ongoing maintenance by the Mount RSA.
The spire will stand at approximately 2m and it is hoped it will be dedicated at 11am on November 11; 100 years since the First World War armistice. Mike Burrows from Burrows Concrete Ltd has generously donated his company’s time and materials to build the foundation and plinth; he’s also made the first significant donation of $2,000 toward the granite spire. The crew of the ANZAC Frigate HMNZS Te Mana, which has Tauranga as her home port, have also pledged $1,000.
“We are tremendously grateful for the spontaneous generosity of Mike and HMNZS Te Mana” says Mick.
The new memorial won’t change services at the Mount. says Steve.
“The Mount Cenotaph which will still be the focus of the dawn parade and memorial services on ANZAC day but it does provide a place for an additional service later in the day,” says Steve.
People who wish to donate to the project to make a donation to the Papamoa War Memorial account: 12-3407-0074451-00 and email their details to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Cr Morris on 021 519 941.