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Centenary of Martinborough’s historic memorial gates remembered 

November 10, 2021 November 2021 No Comments

A small, socially distanced ceremony on Saturday did not let the centenary of Martinborough’s Soldiers’ Memorial Gates go unnoticed.

One hundred years to the day the gates were erected, locals gathered to mark the occasion and remember why they were installed.

A familiar sight in Martinborough, the wrought iron gates commemorate soldiers who died in WW1 and South Africa’s Boer War. This became even more poignant after WW2. 

Matua Wiremu Dawson, a local kaumatua and RSA veteran, opened the ceremony with a karakia, while local historian Mate Higginson told those assembled that the peace of the square’s gardens was meant to be an antidote to the carnage of war. 

The losses of the first World War were still fresh in many people’s memories, and so they inscribed the names of the fallen on the two pillars that support the arch. They are flanked by two smaller pillars.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen unveiled a plaque to mark the date for those in another 100 years.

“For many years these gates have been a focus and fixture of the town, and it would be easy to take them for granted. Much of our heritage passes this way. 

“But I know Mate and the Martinborough community felt it important that this date did not go by unnoticed.” 

The event was hosted by the Martinborough Community Board, and supported by the South Wairarapa District Council.

Photo caption: Matua Wiremu Dawson with the plaque, the plaque 

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