Ngaruawahia’s cenotaph at The Point has been damaged and despite the community’s quick reaction to report it to Waikato District Council; it unfortunately won’t be fixed in time for Anzac Day.
Stone masons have said it’s highly likely the damage was caused by vandals as routine maintenance occurs to keep the memorial in good condition. Two bronze wreaths have also been stolen.
Repairing the cenotaph will take some time as finding replacement stone which matches the colour of the existing memorial could be difficult.
The damaged slab of stone is around 2 metres in length and a memorial plaque was also pulled off.
Today the site will be tidied up and the plaque temporarily reinstated in time for the Anzac service which is due to take place at the cenotaph tomorrow morning.
Council’s Community Connections Manager Megan May says it’s disappointing that this vandalism has occurred to such an important community memorial, especially right before Anzac Day.
“Thanks to the community for letting us know about this vandalism so quickly. Council staff have worked really hard to try and get this repaired in time for tomorrow’s service but the work needed to fully repair the cenotaph is both extensive and expensive.
“Those that go to pay their respects tomorrow shouldn’t notice much difference and we will work to have the cenotaph fully repaired as quickly as possible.”
Ngaruawahia RSA president Chris Jew said it was disappointing that this vandalism has happened in our community.
“Along with this damage to the cenotaph, several repairs have also had to be made to the white crosses on Great South Rd in recent weeks. Both the cenotaph and the white crosses are memorials for our people who have both fought and died for New Zealand. Respect should be paid to these memorials and to have them damaged at any time during the year is such a shame, but right before Anzac Day, a day where the country remembers its fallen, is especially disheartening.
“We would be grateful for any information the community may have about this damage. Let the Council or the RSA know.”
For more information please contact:
Waikato District Council
027 706 5776