Titirangi First World War memorial
The Titirangi First World War memorial was erected on a ridge above the junction of Titirangi Road and Atkinson Road in December 1917. It was wholly funded by a local benefactor, Henry Atkinson, who vested the monument and the site in trustees. The 13-feet high column or obelisk of polished Coromandel granite stood on a stepped rusticated stone base. A globular light was mounted at the top of the column.
The following words were inscribed at the base of the column: “Erected by H. Atkinson / to record the names of the men of Titirangi / who left New Zealand to fight for the / British Empire and the freedom of the / human race”. Its faces were initially inscribed with the names of 54 local men who had served overseas. In February 1918 the memorial trustees advertised for more names, and another 14 names were subsequently added.
There is no record of an unveiling ceremony being held, but Mr Atkinson’s gift was formally acknowledged during Peace Day celebrations held at the site on 19 July 1919, and the memorial was first used as the location of an Anzac Day ceremony in April 1920. For some years a small cannon was displayed in a glass case near the memorial―this was removed at the start of the Second World War.
A further 87 names were added to the memorial after the Second World War. Titirangi’s Anzac Day ceremonies were held at the obelisk until 1965, when they were transferred to the newly opened Titirangi War Memorial Hall. [insert link to new entry] At this time, it seems that the obelisk was also relocated to a site in the Titirangi War Memorial Park, opposite the hall. It may have been moved within the park again before finally coming to rest in 2011 in its present location between the library and the memorial hall. It was formally rededicated on 22 January 2011 during the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Titirangi RSA.
The walkway between Titirangi Road and Atkinson Road that led past the original site of the memorial has been upgraded and signposted as the ‘Soldiers Memorial Walkway’.
Sources: ‘Local and General News’, NZ Herald, 12/12/1917, p. 6; ‘Celebrations in Suburbs: Titirangi’, Auckland Star, 22/7/1919, p. 8; Marc Bonny, Titirangi: Fringe of Heaven, Henderson, 2011, pp. viii, 51-2, 58, 79-80, 88-91, 183.
Titirangi War Memorial Hall
Governor-General Sir Bernard Fergusson opened the Titirangi War Memorial Hall and Community Centre on 30 January 1965. At the same time he unveiled a bronze memorial tablet or roll of honour set into the exterior western wall of the hall. This listed 13 Titirangi men who gave their lives in the First World War and nine who gave their lives in the Second World War.
The new complex was located in the Titirangi War Memorial Park, off South Titirangi Road. It housed not only the war memorial hall but also Plunket Rooms and the local public library (which had already opened for business in October 1964). The Titirangi RSA built its own clubrooms further down the hill.
In 2011 the Titirangi First World War memorial obelisk, which had also been moved to the park opposite the memorial hall in 1965, was rededicated on a new site between the hall and the library.
Sources: ‘War Memorial Hall and Library for Titirangi’, NZ Herald, 18/6/1963; ‘New Titirangi Library Opens in Memorial Hall’, Western Leader, 21/10/1964; ‘Memorial Centre for Titirangi’, Auckland Star, 30/1/1965; ‘Governor-General Opens Memorial Hall at Titirangi’, NZ Herald, 1/2/1965; ‘Opening of War Memorial’, Western Leader, 3/2/1965; Geoff Hole, ‘Close Call for the Hall’, Titirangi Tatler, March 2004, pp. 16-18; Marc Bonny, Titirangi: Fringe of Heaven, Henderson, 2011, pp. 79-80, 88-91.