A Kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes


Wellington war memorials ~ Anzac Day

Roseneath war memorial, surrounded by pupils of Roseneath School, 1925

Pupils of Roseneath School, Wellington, alongside a World War I memorial. Morrison, Rosina Tarepa Buckman, 1923-2005: Photographs relating to Rosina Buckman. Ref: PAColl-0041-05-02. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23226367

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.


Roseneath war memorial

Roseneath war memorial, April 2021

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.


Aro Valley

Aro Valley war memorial

Aro Valley war memorial, April 2021

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.


Makara war memorial

Makara war memorial, April 2021


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.

Brooklyn war memorial - unveiling on 22 September 1923

S.C. Smith (photographer) Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 11 October 1923
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19231011-44-3

Brooklyn war memorial

Brooklyn war memorial, April 2021


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).

Newlands war memorial

Newlands war memorial, April 2021


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)

Findmypast’s Anzac ancestors

Friends of Findmypast

Disclosure: I’m a Global Ambassador for Findmypast, helping to highlight records you can find, plus news and upcoming events. As part of the Friends of Findmypast program, I receive a free Australian Pro subscription.

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A penny for them ~ Anzac Day

I’ve written before about my relative (first cousin, thrice removed) Peter Gaffaney, who died during World War I. A couple of years ago I met some members from that side of the family, who very kindly gave me photos of Peter’s war medals and his memorial plaque (commonly referred to as a “Dead Man’s Penny”)….

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Gallipoli 100 Years ~ Anzac Day 2015

My great grandfather, Alexander Wright, was one of the many soldiers who landed at (the now-named) Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25th April 1915.  He was wounded on 8th August, and eventually invalided back to New Zealand. At the time of enlistment, Alex was single, working as a labourer with the Public Works Department in Gisborne,…

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At the going down of the sun and in the morning ~ Remembrance Sunday

This is how the Tower of London is commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is an installation created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, and has involved the help of hundreds of volunteer ‘poppy planters’. The Tower’s…

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Edward George Tunnecliff ~ an ANZAC all the same

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series The Tunnecliffes of Taranaki

Edward Tunnecliff (my first cousin thrice removed) was born in New Plymouth on 9th May 1886, the eldest son of George Tunnecliff (Jnr) and Alice Kine. He was living in Dover Road, Okato, with his brother Leonard, and farming land in Tataraimaka, when he was conscripted into the New Zealand Expeditionary Force Reserve in 1916….

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Anzac Biscuits ~ Family Recipe Friday

I love Anzac biscuits.  Apparently they were made for the Australian and New Zealand troops overseas in WW1 because they kept really well, containing no milk or egg. A friend posted a link to the New Zealand Women’s Weekly recipe earlier this week, so I thought I’d have a go and see how they turned…

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For Acts of Gallantry in the Field ~ Sgt P.M. Gaffaney M.M.

I’m not related to any famous generals or admirals (that I know of!), but I am immensely proud of those servicemen in my family who fought with courage and fortitude in their own way, and I honour one of them this ANZAC Day. My (first, thrice removed) cousin Peter has appeared in a few posts…

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Peter Michael Gaffaney ~ ANZAC

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.1 Peter Michael Gaffaney was born in Dunedin, New Zealand on 14 September 1892, son of Francis Gaffaney (Belper, Derbyshire)…

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