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War memorial gets official listing as historic place

Adrienne Miller with military historian Grant McLachlan, who wrote the 400-page submission for the Matakana War Memorial to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

After more than eight years of dedicated hard work, restoration and research, Matakana resident Adrienne Miller has achieved formal recognition for the community’s war memorial from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

Together with Snells Beach military historian and writer Grant McLachlan, she put together a comprehensive history of the statue of King George, which was the first war memorial to be dedicated in New Zealand after the end of the 1914-18 war.

Last month, they heard that their efforts had been successful and the heritage listing would take effect on September 9.

Heritage NZ’s northern region director Sherry Reynolds said the organisation had decided the war memorial should be conserved for the future and retained on the Auckland Unitary Plan.

“Our board has carefully considered whether to enter First World War Memorial, Matakana Road, Matakana, Auckland (List No. 9816) on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero,” she said in the approval letter. “After looking at the proposal report and all the submissions we received, our board has decided that First World War Memorial has sufficient significance to be entered on the List as a Category 2 historic place.”

Adrienne says the listing is great news, not least since the monument celebrated its centenary earlier this year.

“This has been my goal since 2012. I knew it had to be protected,” she said. “It means if someone tries to move it or do anything to it in future, they will have to jump through a whole lot of legislative hoops.”

The listing also means that expert support is available from Heritage NZ to help conserve the monument, and it could be benficial in obtaining funding.

The 400-page submission document for the heritage listing application has been bound and lodged in the archives of Auckland Council’s heritage unit.

“They were over the moon, they only had one page before,” Adrienne says.

A plaque marking the listing will be placed at the war memorial at some stage in the near future.

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