Taneatua South African War memorial

The South African War memorial in Tāneatua, sited in the recreation reserve on McKenzie St, is a stepped marble atop concrete steps.

A finely carved tablet on one side of the base, depitcing a crossed rifle and sword and soldier’s hat over fern and oak leaves, represents New Zealand and Britain.

The memorial in c1986:

Taneatua war memorial Taneatua war memorial

Community contributions

2 comments have been posted about Taneatua South African War memorial

What do you know?

Nigel Robson

Posted: 26 Dec 2012

Further to my earlier comments regarding the Taneatua memorial, on 6 April 1930 the Honorary Secretary of the Taneatua Domain Board wrote to the Officer Commanding NZ Defence Office seeking information about John Walker's war service in South Africa. The secretary claimed (admittedly several years after the event) 'there is a monument on the Public Domain erected to his memory'. As I said, this would appear to refer to J. Hone Waaka. Walker/Waaka's address is given variously as Opotiki, Whakatane, and Taneatua in his military personnel files which can be viewed via the Archives NZ 'Archway' website if you search the name 'John Walker' and then select the South Africa War 'Military Personnel Files' for 'John Walker SA1375, 5299- Army'. The letter regarding the memorial is on page ten of this file. Walker's wife remarried after his death taking the name 'Crawford' (presumably her second husband's name). Page 13 of his Archway file features another letter dated 25 Jan 1912 that confirms the memorial was erected in honour of Walker: 'These particulars are urgently required so that they may be suitably inscribed on a Memorial Stone & which is being erected in a public place at a cost of (pound symbol)120 to our late worthy settler Mr. J. Walker.' It appears Walker died not long before the 1912 letter was sent. Hope this is of interest.

Nigel Robson

Posted: 26 Dec 2012

During the South African War 1899-1902, 'John Walker' served as a Trooper and Sergeant in the Fourth and Eighth Contingents (Nos. 1375 & 5299), and possibly in the Seventh. An article in the Poverty Bay Herald (29 July 1901, p.3) claims that 'J. Hone Waaka (Johnny Walker)' was recommended for a Distinguished Conduct Medal during the war. A letter from the Taneatua Domain Board dated 6 April 1930 that appears in John Walker's Archway Archives NZ webpage (page 10) says Walker was 'half-caste'. It appears the Board intended to include Hone Waaka's (John Walker's) details on the domain memorial.