War Memorial

Torea Street, Granity

  • War Memorial.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Robyn Burgess. Date: 25/04/2013.
  • War Memorial. October 1992. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: Ray Hooker (DoC).
  • War Memorial.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Robyn Burgess. Date: 25/04/2013.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 5020 Date Entered 21st September 1989

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Extent of List Entry

The registration includes part of the land described as Railway Land as shown on DP 15319 (NZ Gazette 1881, p.1127), Nelson Land District, and the structure known as War Memorial thereon. The concrete wall is included in, and marks the boundary of, the registration

City/District Council

Buller District

Region

West Coast Region

Legal description

Railway Land as shown on DP 15319 (NZ Gazette 1881, p.1127), Nelson Land District

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The War Memorial on Torea Street (State Highway 67) in Granity, between the road and the railway tracks that travel through the town, was built, probably in the 1920s, to memorialise those who were lost from the district during the First World War. It was later altered to also commemorate those who died in the Second World War. In keeping with all war memorials, the Granity memorial has significance as a memorial to the soldiers from that community who fought and died in the First and Second World Wars, and has a real poignancy in the number of men listed from such a small district. It has added significance as an example of an unusual style of memorial built in New Zealand after the First World War.

Granity was one of only five towns in New Zealand to choose a ‘cupola’, a dome resting on pillars, as their First World War memorials. As noted by Jock Phillips and Chris McLean, historians of war memorials in New Zealand, such a memorial has connotations of a temple or shrine, as well as having classical and heroic connotations: ‘they are holy places where the memory of the dead is powerfully present’. Of the five, two are on the West Coast, the other being Hokitika.

The Granity memorial is built from pre-cast concrete. On the front is a white marble plaque, inscribed with twelve servicemen’s names and the statement that the memorial was built ‘In grateful remembrance of those who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War’. Above and below were two pieces of decorative carved marble. The one below still remains and represents a crossed sword and gun, while the one above has been removed since the late 1980s.

The memorial is built on a section of land that has been set aside for railway purposes since 1881 on a small grassed area surrounded on one side by a low concrete and stone wall, which is included in the registration, and a flagpole. It sits next to the local library and the bandstand.

After the Second World War, a new plaque was added to provide the names of the eight men from the district who died during the Second World War, saying that they died ‘for democracy and freedom’. The memorial continues to be used and decorated for Anzac services, and people march from the bandstand to the memorial at dawn on that day.

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Construction Dates

Original Construction
1920 - 1929

Completion Date

7th February 2014

Report Written By

Elizabeth Cox and Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

MacLean, 1990

Chris MacLean and Jock Phillips, The Sorrow and the Pride: New Zealand War Memorials, Wellington, 1990

Other Information

A fully referenced copy of this upgrade report is available upon request from the NZHPT Southern Region Office.

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.