Mt Hector war memorial

Detail from memorial

The memorial cross on Mt Hector in the Tararua Range. It commemorates mountaineers and other climbers killed in the Second World War.

The following information about the memorial comes from Chris Maclean, Tararua: the story of a mountain range, Whitcombe Press, 1994 pp207-8

Shortly after the Second World War a group of returned servicemen who were trampers from the region suggested a memorial on Mt Hector. A two-year period of consultation followed.

In October 1949, it was agreed to erect an 8-foot wooden cross, of jarrah or totara, on the summit of Hector. During the weekend of 10-12 March 1950, a large working party drawn from all the clubs toiled up from Otaki Forks in typically atrocious Tararua weather carrying the cross (which weighed more than 200 pounds), the plaque, cement and gravel from the river. On the exposed tops there was so much wind and rain that only the cross bearers ventured beyond Kime, and it took all their stamina to carry it up the final stretch. The following weekend a smaller party returned to erect the cross and put the plaque in place.

In June the memorial was dedicated. A fleet of three trucks full of Wellington trampers, a line of private cars and a contingent from Palmerston North converged on Otaki Forks. Once again the weather was bad and, as a result, the dedication service was held not on the summit but in Kime Hut.

The Reverend R. McKenzie officiated. After the service, however, about twenty people continued on to Hector and as they gathered there to dedicate the cross the weather cleared. On the party was Bert Hines who later wrote: “The rugged cross and rainswept mountain top combined to revive memories of the good chaps we will see no more, and made us think the silent prayer, ‘Rest in Peace’”.

Credit

Images: Duncan Watson, 2011

How to cite this page: 'Mt Hector war memorial', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/mt-hector-war-memorial, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 15-Jul-2013

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