Featherston District War Memorial

Fitzherbert Street (State Highway 58), Wallace Street and Fox Street, FEATHERSTON


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The striking Featherston District War Memorial was unveiled in 1927 and occupies a prominent position within the township, at the intersection of Fitzherbert Street (State Highway 58) with Wallace and Fox Streets. The memorial has been a focal point for Anzac Day commemorations in Featherston for more than 90 years and is clearly valued by the local community, who have helped maintain its setting and ensure its integrity in the face of plans for change. The cupola design of the memorial and its symbolic river stone construction combine with its picturesque setting to create a place of special aesthetic significance. The memorial is a key element within a wider historical and commemorative landscape that reflects the considerable impact of the events of World War One on this small rural community. Plans for a World War One memorial in Featherston were first conceived in 1919 when the Anzac Club gifted their building to the Featherston Borough Council on the condition that ‘a suitable monument’ was erected on a plot of grass adjacent to the club. Surplus club funds were to go towards the monument’s construction. Fundraising commenced in 1920 and in 1925 the decision was made to erect the memorial at the junction of Fitzherbert, William and Fox Streets instead, a much more prominent location befitting a war memorial. Additional fundraising was undertaken and plans and specifications for the memorial were prepared. The final design is attributed to local resident and returned serviceman Norman Charles Campbell Shepherd and carrier Mitchell Brown Tait of Featherston, with the work undertaken by stonemason R.H. Greenfield. The memorial was unveiled on Anzac Day 1927 by former Minister of Defence Sir James Allen. The memorial is a more unusual cupola design, comprising 12 square pillars supporting a domed roof, both constructed of reinforced concrete and symbolically set with stones from the Tauherenīkau River, as with the low wall which bounds the memorial site. These stones characterised life at the Wairarapa military training camps for so many men; new recruits faced the backbreaking task of clearing the stones which were later used for both practical and decorative purposes within the camps. The dome is topped by a lantern and spire mounted with a light. The four facings of the square concrete base of the dome are cast with ‘Gallipoli’, ‘France- Belgium’, ‘Mesopotamia’ and ‘Palestine- Egypt’. A polished red granite obelisk is centrally located inside the cupola and is inscribed with the rolls of honour and World War One and Two dedications. The World War Two roll of honour and dedication were added to the obelisk in 1950. The three flagpoles in the corners of the site were later removed, the original globe light at the top of the spire was replaced and the memorial was connected to street lighting. Landscaping improvements were made in 1991 with support from the Featherston RSA and Featherston Lionesses. Plans in 2006 to remove the perimeter wall and change the landscaping around the memorial were abandoned following local opposition, and the memorial remains otherwise as built in 1927.

Featherston District War Memorial. North-western face | Joanna Barnes-Wylie | 03/03/2022 | Heritage New Zealand
Featherston District War Memorial viewed from Fitzherbert Street (State Highway 58) | Joanna Barnes-Wylie | 05/09/2019 | Heritage New Zealand
Featherston District War Memorial. North-western face of the obelisk showing the main dedication | Joanna Barnes-Wylie | 15/09/2019 | Heritage New Zealand



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Able to Visit

List Number


Date Entered

2nd February 2020

Date of Effect

3rd March 2020

City/District Council

South Wairarapa District


Wellington Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Town of Featherston (NZ Gazette 2006, In8534), Wellington Land District and the structure known as Featherston District War Memorial thereon, and its setting including the garden, low stone perimeter wall and gates (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the List entry report for further information).

Legal description

Pt Town of Featherston (NZ Gazette 2006, In8534), Wellington Land District

Location Description

1795585.234; 5445497.609 (NZTM)

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