The Wellington War Memorials Project researched the lives of the 96 men on five community war memorials in Wellington, who were listed as killed during the First World War. It was part of the WW100 programme of centenary projects and activities to mark New Zealand’s involvement in the conflict.
The project, lead by Barbara Mulligan, was conducted under the auspices of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, and involved a huge amount of mahi from volunteers.
The events of 1914–1918 affected more than those who went away — they touched nearly every New Zealand family, every community, school, workplace and club or group. One indication of this wide-reaching impact is how many New Zealand communities, large or small, have a memorial marking the First World War.
– WW100: WW100 Programme Office, Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage
The five memorials in the project were Roseneath, Aro Valley, Makara, Brooklyn and Newlands. You can read the biographies of each soldier researched on the individual memorial pages.
The Roseneath Memorial is on Grafton Road, next to Roseneath Primary School. Nineteen men are named on the memorial as having died – they had been pupils of the school, and one a teacher.
It was unveiled on the 10th November 1917 by the Governor General the Earl of Liverpool, followed by an address from the Prime Minister, William Massey.
The Aro Valley memorial stands at the junction of Aro Street, Raroa Road and Holloway Road.
It was erected by the Mitchelltown Welcome Home Association and Friends in 1920, in memory of the boys of the Mitchelltown School and area who served in the Great War
19 men are listed here as killed.
The Makara memorial is on the corner of Makara and South Makara Roads.
It was erected by the Makara settlers and unveiled by Brigadier General Richardson on 23rd May 1921.
7 men from WW1 are listed.
One of the men, John Howard Jervis, is also commemorated in the adjacent St Matthias’ church with a stained glass window. Two other men are commemorated in stained glass windows in the nearby St Patrick’s Catholic church: Louis Sievers and Harry Monaghan.
The Brooklyn memorial sits atop Sugarloaf Hill, accessed from both Mitchell St and Sugarloaf Road.
The memorial was erected by local residents, and unveiled on 22 September 1923 by the Governor-General, Viscount Jellicoe.
48 men are listed as having died, and among them are the three soldiers I researched: William Henry Archer (1887-1917), Hugh Carlisle Birkett (1895-1917), and Frederick Andrew Brill MM (1884-1917).
The Newlands memorial is on the corner of Newlands Road and Wakeley Road.
The original memorial was demolished for road widening onto Ngauranga Gorge. The present memorial was built after World War Two.
9 men are listed as killed.
Find a memorial
NZ History has a register of war memorials across New Zealand – find your nearest memorial, or see if a relative is mentioned on their community memorial.
Monumental – New Zealand’s 500 First World War Memorials, Jock Phillips, WW100 Programme Office, Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
Resources for researching your WW1 relatives
Archives NZ guide to World War One
Archway (Archives NZ’s online catalogue with links to digitised service records)
Auckland Museum’s Online Cenotaph
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
PapersPast (historical newspapers online)
Unit war diaries (digitised, available through the Australian War Memorial website)
New Zealand Electronic Text Collection (digitised NZ WW1 history books)
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