War Memorial Arch and Gates

5825 South Road (State Highway 45 Okato-Hawera/Surf Highway 45), Rahotu

  • War Memorial Arch and Gates.
    Copyright: Rahotu School. Date: 1/01/2005.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 823 Date Entered 1st September 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Sec 53 Blk I Opunake SD (NZ Gazette 1886, p.786), Taranaki Land District, and the structure known as War Memorial Arch and Gates thereon, including the stone walls, as shown on the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 2 June 2016.

City/District Council

South Taranaki District


Taranaki Region

Legal description

Sec 53 Blk I Opunake SD (NZ Gazette 1886, p.786), Taranaki Land District


Constructed in 1922 and unveiled in a special ceremony on Sunday 26 November by the Ven. Archdeacon F.G. Evans, the War Memorial Arch and Gates at Rahotu is of historical, aesthetic and social heritage significance. The memorial commemorates the men from the district who died in World War One, World War Two and later conflicts. It stands at the entrance to Rahotu School, and serves as a unifying symbol for the community’s grief and respect.

Rahotu is a small town in the west of Taranaki, located on State Highway 45. It was established in the late 1870s and the school, on land gifted by Ngāti Haupoto rangatira Te Kahui Kararehe, opened on September 15 1884 with 17 pupils on the first day. The establishment of the school was due to a letter written by Mr Alex Anderson to the Taranaki Education Board giving the names and ages of the local children who would attend. The school roll had increased to 60 pupils by 1908. The sacrifice of 20 locals from the small school and area in World War One (1914-1918) led to subscriptions being gathered and community functions being held to raise funds to honour them.

In 1922 a public meeting was held where the Rahotu Soldiers Memorial Committee was elected to organise the erection of a suitable memorial. Mr W.R. Wright was elected Chairman and Mr L. Fischer Secretary. Various types of memorial were studied, and several other monuments already erected in Taranaki were viewed. It was decided that a stone arch, similar to the one at Normanby, be erected over the school gates, and wing walls constructed either side. New Plymouth architect Mr. W.N. Stephenson prepared the plans, under the supervision of Education Board architect C.H. Moore, and local builder Mr George Robinson was granted the tender. The total cost of the memorial came to 247 pounds and 5 shillings.

The Rahotu War Memorial Arch is a masonry archway which spans what were at the time the main entrance gates to the school. Two thick square pillars, on which the memorial plaques are located, support the arch. The arch is topped by a triangular gable, with the legends ‘1914-1918’ and ‘Their names shall live’ detailed in small pebbles set in concrete bands across the gable. Low stone walls extend from each side of the arch, with smaller timber gates allowing pedestrian passage. A large red and gold crown donated by Mr W.R. Wright sits in the centre over the arched opening. It was not part of the architect’s original plan. Mr Linehan, the Schoolmaster, stated upon completion of the work: ‘a pleasing feature of the very handsome memorial which was erected was the fact that it was constructed of local stone, and so was, in that way, a most fitting memorial to the men from the district’.

After World War Two, additional names were added to the original plaques, and subsequently other plaques have been added to the gate posts of the wing walls to commemorate those who served in Japan (2 NZEF 1946-1948), Korea (1950-1958), Malaya/Malaysia and Borneo (1955-1966) and Vietnam (1964-1972). The War Memorial Arch and Gates has been the site for memorial services for the town and the school. The community takes pride in the memorial and the School Committee’s long responsibility for maintenance of the structure was handed over to the Council in 1982.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Moore, C. H.

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

W. N. Stephens

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1922 -

1946 -
Plaques altered to include the names of World War Two fallen

Plaques commemorating those who served in the Korean War, 2 NZEF Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Completion Date

2nd May 2016

Report Written By

David Batchelor

Information Sources

Taranaki Daily News

Taranaki Daily News

‘School is symbol of Rahotu’s Eventful History’, Taranaki Daily News, 3 July, 1959

Grey, 2009

Grey, Moyra, Rahotu School and District: 125th Jubilee 1884-2009, Rahotu School Jubilee Committee 2009

Dwyer and Morgan, 1984

Neil Dwyer and Ruth Morgan, Rahotu School and District Centenary 1884-1984, Rahotu Centennial Committee / Taranaki Newspapers, New Plymouth, 1984

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand