Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site

Masterton-Castlepoint Road, Tinui Station Homestead, Tinui

  • Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Blyss Wagstaff. Date: 15/10/2009.
  • Northeast face of Cross and view looking down at Tinui township.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Blyss Wagstaff. Date: 15/10/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 9306 Date Entered 2nd March 2011 Date of Effect 2nd March 2011


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 8 DP 86827 (RT WN54B/543), Wellington Land District and the structure known as Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site thereon. The extent includes a curtilage around the structure which encompasses the promontory it is constructed upon, as well as an approximately five metre view shaft to the south of the structure. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Masterton District


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 8 DP 86827 (RT WN54B/543), Wellington Land District

Location description

This place is on private farmland near Tinui village. Prior permission for access and direction from the owners is required because of this, but also because direct access to the Cross is only accomplished by hiking for 45 to 60 minutes over steep, and therefore potentially hazardous, terrain to one of the outcrops of Mount Maunsell/Tinui-Taipo.


Originally constructed from timber and replaced with an aluminium equivalent in 1965, the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site has been an iconic local landmark since its installation on the inaugural ANZAC Day of 1916.

The Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross was the result of the need of the Tinui area to tangibly demonstrate their respect for those involved in the ANZAC campaign at Gallipoli during World War One, but to more specifically commemorate those local men who died as a result. However, the practical realisation of the project seems to have been driven by the Maunsell family. The Cross stands within what was this family’s large Tinui Station and upon the mountain named after them. The Maunsells started farming at the station in the early period of European settlement in the eastern Wairarapa and soon established themselves as a prominent local family. The memorial would have been particularly poignant for the Maunsell family because one of John Maunsell’s sons fought at Gallipoli. On the first ANZAC Day in 1916 the wider Tinui community joined in commemorations which involved several memorial services and other community activities, including a large group making the long climb up Mount Maunsell/Tinui-Taipo to the newly erected Cross. In 1965 the original structure was replaced because its exposed position had had a detrimental effect on the 1916 timber monument. Again the community was heavily involved in this process which ensured the continuance of local ANZAC Day pilgrimages to the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross.

Dramatically positioned on an outcrop of Mount Maunsell/Tinui-Taipo overlooking Tinui township, the Cross is a simple structure formed by intersecting aluminium components. It features a plaque detailing its function as a memorial, as well as graffiti incised by hundreds of people who have visited the site over the years.

Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site is an important place because it continues the tradition of its initial incarnation as one of the first ANZAC memorials constructed in New Zealand. It was the site of a commemoration on the inaugural ANZAC Day in 1916. Combined with this outstanding symbolic and historical value, the Cross’s prominent position has meant that it is an iconic local landmark and one with which generations of local people have identified with and held in the highest regard.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross was completed on the inaugural ANZAC Day of 1916 in memory of the people with close ties to the Tinui area, and other New Zealanders and Australians who died in the early years of World War One. It is also one of the legacies of the locally important Maunsell family who philanthropically drove the Cross project and erected it on their land, on the mountain named after them, on behalf of the wider community. The community’s initial and ongoing support of what became a tradition of ANZAC Day pilgrimages to the Cross site is indicative of the strength of local grief at the loss of these people. As such, this structure is an important reminder of the impact that the World Wars of the twentieth century had on small communities throughout New Zealand.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

The prominent position of the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross has contributed greatly to this structure becoming an important local landmark. Its relatively remote location presiding over the quiet surrounding rural area reinforces the memorial’s solemn message and creates a dramatic focal point above Tinui township. Therefore, the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site has considerable aesthetic value.

Social Significance or Value

As purposely intended in the selection of its prominent position, the Cross is a constant reminder to local inhabitants of the losses at Gallipoli, the legacy of the ANZACs, and the social impact that the war had on the small local community. This structure was of considerable social importance to the community because it provided a place for people to grieve and honour those buried overseas.

As such, generations of Tinui people have trekked to the Cross site since its original construction in 1916 as part of annual ANZAC Day commemorations. The social importance of this ritual to the community meant that when the original Cross required replacement in 1965 the Tinui people once again demonstrated their respect for the sentiment behind the structure by being heavily involved in the project. The Cross itself is a significant social document as the host of graffitied names on the memorial record hundreds of people who have made the journey to its site on ANZAC Day, or as part of other community or individual outings.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

The Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross is representative of the collective outpouring of grief New Zealanders demonstrated as a result of losses during World War One and Two, which articulated itself in the widespread construction of war memorials around the country.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

Because of its dedication as an ANZAC memorial this structure is a part of the legacy of events at Gallipoli in 1915 and the role they had in the development of New Zealand’s national identity.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place

The local community have immense esteem for the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross and have done since it was originally erected in 1916. An iconic landmark, the Cross has presided over the town since then and the site has been the destination for hundreds of ANZAC Day commemoration pilgrimages, school and other youth group field trips, and casual visitor excursions. This close community association with the Cross motivated the replacement of the original timber Cross in 1965, and has also recently been the driving force behind efforts from the community for recognition of its heritage values.

(f) The potential of the place for public education

The Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site has potential for public education regarding the immense impact that ANZAC, and general World War One, losses had on communities, particularly small rural ones, and also the genesis of our modern ANZAC Day commemorations.

(h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place

This structure specifically honours the people associated with the Tinui district who died in the ANZAC campaign. But it also implicitly commemorates all New Zealand casualties of World War One and the other wars of the twentieth century because since 1916 it has consistently played a key role in ANZAC Day commemorations which have evolved into a day of general remembrance. The commemorative nature of the Cross and its prominent position above Tinui has meant its solemnity has also touched an incalculable number of residents and travellers since 1916. Therefore, the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site has outstanding commemorative value.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places

The Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross is a rare form of memorial within New Zealand, which has the added significance of being the only known cross dedicated to ANZAC losses during World War One.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

With its position on Mount Maunsell, which was incorporated into the large Tinui Station established by the Maunsell family, Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross is part of a historical landscape documenting the importance of the Maunsell family in the area. There is a particularly strong connection between the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site which goes beyond Maunsell family involvement and visual links, because the Church too played an important role in the inaugural ANZAC Day commemorations.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place.

Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site is a dramatically solemn place and important landmark sited atop Mt Maunsell/Tinui-Taipo. It has special significance for its ongoing relevance as a place of commemoration and pilgrimage for local people and visitors alike. As one of the first ANZAC memorials the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site is a place of outstanding importance for New Zealand, a country for whom the ANZAC activities at Gallipoli are said to be an integral aspect in the development of national identity. This rare form of commemorative structure is a particularly poignant example of the impact that the events at Gallipoli had on communities in New Zealand, and the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross continues to be greatly esteemed.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Montgomer, Ronald John

Ronald John Montgomery (d.1981)

Montgomery was the owner of Aluminium Prefabricators, a Masterton company which was established in the 1960s. The construction of the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross in 1965, to replace the original timber structure, was amongst this firm’s first large jobs.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The discovery and settlement of the Wairarapa region is connected with several prominent figures of New Zealand’s history. Ancestral figures such as Hau-nui-a-nanaia, Kupe, Whatonga, Tara Ika and Toi have all been said to have connections with the region and are responsible for the naming of Wairarapa and its important features and places. It has been estimated that Rangitane settled in the region by about the sixteenth century. Marriage links with Rangitane saw a group of Ngati Kahungunu retreat to the Wairarapa in the subsequent century as the result of internal hapu conflict. The two groups cohabitated mostly in the south Wairarapa for a period, but then the Ngati Kahungunu newcomers negotiated several sections of land for themselves. This process was not seamless and instances of conflict continued between the two iwi over the centuries. The next significant period of change in the area was in the early nineteenth century with the incursion of Te Rauparaha and others. This ushered in an era when many different iwi, including Ngati Whatua, Ngati Awa, Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tama, and Ngati Mutunga, made advances into the region and some Ngati Kahungunu hapu withdrew.

European incursion into the Wairarapa only began after the New Zealand Company’s Port Nicholson settlement was established. Based on the reports of the company’s exploring and surveying, the southern Wairarapa became one of the first extensive tracts of land in New Zealand to be occupied by Europeans, although the Crown titles, negotiated by Donald McLean, were not obtained until 1853. However, it took substantially longer for settlement to progress beyond Masterton, which was linked to Wellington by road in 1859. This period saw the land along the eastern coastline subdivided into large stations.

Prior to the 1880s, when better road and rail access to Wellington was established which connected eastern Wairarapa farms and small service centre settlements, coastal ports like that at Castlepoint were essential for communications and trade. This lack of access also hindered settlement, however, in the mid-1850s the land between the Whareama and Tinui rivers was purchased by the Crown from the Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane people, soon to be on-sold to European settlers. Tinui township, meaning many or large cabbage trees, which was also sometimes referred to as Te Nui, was established as a farming service town from the 1860s. By the 1870s this small town was replete with all the facilities one would expect, like churches, a school, a post office and other public buildings, as well as businesses such as blacksmiths and saddlers, cake shops and hotels.

The Maunsell family owned Tinui station and it was this family that went on to construct Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross on their namesake mountain (also known as Tinui-Taipo), within the property. The legacy of this prominent, wealthy Wairarapa family began when Robert and Susan Maunsell immigrated to New Zealand from England in 1835 to set up an Anglican mission. The couple thrived on this work and had several New Zealand-born children. Robert went on to become Archdeacon of Waitemata and then of Auckland, having in the meantime purchased the substantial coastal Wairarapa property which some of his sons occupied in the mid 1860s, forming Tinui Station.

Robert (Junior) and John owned the station and prospered enough to be able to build a grand manor in Masterton, ‘Eridge,’ where the bachelor Robert lived with his brother and sister-in-law who hailed from Wellington’s influential Beauchamp family. The brothers both became prominent local community members serving on many boards and councils including the North Wairarapa County Council. John and Emily Maunsell, a close relative of Katherine Mansfield, had three sons, all of who served in World War One. Later, the youngest son, who had been severely wounded in 1916 and also won the Military Cross, went on to be a founder and joint owner of the iconic New Zealand company Hansell’s in the 1930s. Only Henry Beresford Maunsell, a member of the Wellington Mounted Rifles, was at Gallipoli because his two brothers were in English regiments.

The Tinui community was, like most other communities in New Zealand and Australia, deeply affected by the result of the disastrous ANZAC campaign that lasted nine months, and by the World War One death toll elsewhere as well. Therefore, the Maunsell’s along with the wider community were keen to commemorate this through a series of events on the first ANZAC Day. The day’s events on 25 April 1916 started with a morning religious service at the Church of the Good Shepherd. This service was one of hundreds of religious memorial services throughout New Zealand, Australia, and England that took place on the first official ANZAC Day, setting a precedent for future commemorations. However, because of the recorded 7:30am start for the ANZAC and St Mark’s Day morning service the ceremony at the Tinui Church is believed to be the world’s first ANZAC Day memorial religious service. After the church service the ceremonies then continued with Bugler Hancock of the 13th Regiment, who was at home at Tinui on final leave from the Featherston camp, playing a salute while a Union Jack was ceremonially delivered to and unfurled at Tinui Hall. The flag used in the ceremony had been purchased in July 1915 at a local Wounded Soldiers Fund charity auction for an enormous sum by, the obviously wealthy and patriotic C.F. Vallance.

It is unknown when the final itinerary for the first ANZAC Day commemorations at Tinui were finalised, but the Maunsell family played a key role in the day’s activities. After the church service refreshments were provided at the Maunsell residence at Tinui Station. Afterwards a group of about 50 people made the long steep climb to the summit of Mt Maunsell in the early afternoon to the newly erected memorial cross. Bugler Hancock carried his instrument with him and was again involved, playing The Last Post after everyone present wrote their name in a time capsule which was installed at the foot of the cross. The Cross had been transported up the hill prior to the ceremony by a large group of Boy Scouts. This busy day was completed with another memorial service at Tinui Hall, again presided over by Rev. Basil Ashcroft.

Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross and the ‘imposing ceremony’ that accompanied its instalment was funded by the Maunsell family and it was presented by Mrs Emily Maunsell as a tribute to the ANZACs who had died at Gallipoli. The honouring of local soldiers in this way would have been particularly poignant for Emily because Leslie Beauchamp, Katherine Mansfield’s brother, was killed in action late in 1915, although in Flanders and not Gallipoli. A later general World War One memorial in Tinui township, which listed the casualties from the area, was not constructed until the 1920s. At least two of the local men in this roll of honour died in 1915 at Gallipoli, and because of the small size of the community it is likely that most people would have known these men and their families personally. One of those killed was Private John Robert Dunn, who is notorious for being one of the few New Zealand soldiers to be court marshalled and sentenced to death during World War One. His sentence was subsequently reversed, however Dunn was soon killed in the attack on Chunuk Bair. Because the World War One obelisk memorial was yet to be built, the Cross would have had added personal meaning for the Dillon family, who lived at Tinui Station under its shadow, when Lance Corporal William Arthur Dillon was killed in action at Ypres in 1917.

New Zealand memorials to those who died in World War One started to be erected while the war was still taking place, and the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site is an early example. One of the earliest World War One memorials is in Kaitaia, which was unveiled in March 1916. Other examples of early ANZAC memorials include the ANZAC Memorial Tree in Eastbourne (14 July 1915) and the ANZAC Memorial Flagpole in Petone which was erected just before the first ANZAC Day, on April 8 1916. The men to whom the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross was dedicated were buried overseas, so for the majority of their families this meant that a war memorial became a surrogate grave at which they could go through the rituals associated with death in the absence of access to the person’s actual burial site. The majority of war memorials were constructed within a decade of the cessation of World War One, and these were primarily in the form of a monument, or smaller gestures like honour rolls in established buildings. This was because many felt that functional community structures such as libraries, halls, and bridges, were inappropriate as the community should not benefit when the purpose of a memorial was to recognise the sacrifice of others. In this way the ANZAC memorial at Tinui is rare in the form that it took, but conformed with ideas at the time about the most suitable means of commemorating the war dead. The Cross and the Tinui War Memorial Hall, which was conceived in 1947 and completed in 1954, indicate the softening of opinions in respect to functional memorials by the end of World War Two.

Given the Maunsell family’s involvement with the introduction and spread of Christianity in New Zealand, the construction of a memorial in the form of a cross was probably an obvious choice because of parallels, which were highlighted at the time by Rev. Ashcroft, between the crucifixion of Jesus and those men who had sacrificed themselves in the war. The timing of the ANZAC Day commemorations were also poignant in this respect, falling only a couple of days after Easter. From the financial contribution and the Cross’s location it is clear that the Maunsell family took the lead on the project, but it is unclear whether the idea for the memorial originated with them. Despite the Maunsells taking the lead on the project the strong attendance at the various services and ceremonies demonstrates that the community in general had a desire to commemorate the first ANZAC Day through the creation of a landmark and permanent memorial to those who died and fought at Gallipoli.

A local reporter commented that ANZAC Day was interesting because ‘…after being without a military anniversary for so long we should be given one, not of victory, but of failure.’ ANZAC Day was not meant as a day ‘…to be vainglorious, but to keep green the memory of the soldiers who covered themselves in glory in a splendid failure.’ The commemorative nature of the Cross not only had significance to those in the vicinity of Tinui, as a tribute to those local men who had died at Gallipoli and more broadly during World War One in general, but it also had national and trans-Tasman resonances as an ANZAC memorial. The ANZAC legend was forged at Gallipoli, which was a devastating campaign and one that solidified the horror of the war in the psyches of those back in New Zealand and Australia due to the incomprehensible death toll. However, this also evoked a sense of national pride amongst the ANZAC countries, as is evident in the ANZAC Day commemorations that have taken place since 1916 when the Tinui memorial was erected. Importantly, the legacy of Gallipoli and the ANZACs has been singled out as a key component in the evolution of the national identities of both New Zealand and Australia.

Initially the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross was constructed from Jarrah hardwood with a metal facing. However, despite having this protective metal skin, the Cross’s exposed position lead to the degrading of the timber, which meant it needed to be replaced in 1965. Again the community were heavily involved in this process and they erected an aluminium equivalent in the original memorial’s stead. Over one hundred local school children also participated by helping to lug bags of sand and cement up Mount Maunsell/Tinui Taipo for the concrete base which the Cross was set in.

Regular annual pilgrimages to the Cross site continue and this ANZAC Day event is still well attended by the local community and visitors. These commemorations are organised with the permission of the landowners, whose private properties are crossed to reach the summit of Mt Maunsell/Tinui-Taipo. The Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site is held high regard locally and in recent years has gained a national profile. There have been numerous media articles about the structure, its history, and the community’s desire for it to be recognised as a historic place. This coverage has mostly been in Wairarapa and Wellington newspapers, but has also featured in publications like the Southland Times.

Physical Description

The Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross Site overlooks the township of Tinui and surrounding farms, in its prominent position on a rocky outcrop along the ridgeline track of Mount Maunsell/Tinui Taipo. It is a long climb up to the Cross, which is located just south of the mountain’s highest point and trig mark. This process means that a trek to the Cross has the feeling of a pilgrimage and achievement about it, which is perhaps why numerous people have left their mark on the structure by inscribing into it their names and the date they were there.

The mountain is mostly covered in wilding pines, however the immediate area around the memorial has been cleared of vegetation in order to help with its visibility, and a couple of sets of simple timber steps have been installed close to the Cross approach to aid access.

The Cross itself is an uncompromisingly straightforward structure constructed in 1965, by Ron Montgomery of Masterton’s Aluminium Prefabricators, to replace the degraded original timber structure. Like its earlier incarnation, the current Cross has no pretentions to the elaborate or ornamental. The allusion to the Christian crucifixion story is obvious and does not need any decoration to enhance this symbolism and meaning.

The Cross, set into a concrete base, is constructed from aluminium and is 3.6 metres tall with a 2.4 metre cross-arm. Each face of the Cross has a simple buttress attached at the centre of the intersection between the vertical and horizontal components. For further support guy-wires have been added to the ends of the cross-arm, connecting to the facings which cap each end. In 1971 the Cross’s wire struts failed and were therefore replaced by Montgomery.

The southwest face of the Cross is that which looks out over Tinui township, and is also the location of the inscription which reads: ANZAC MEMORIAL CROSS ERECTED TINUI-TAIPO APRIL 15TH [sic] 1916 REPLACED 25TH APRIL 1965. This is bolted to the lower section of the vertical post, approximately 50 centimetres from the base, with the words running down the length of the plaque so that they are sideways. This southwest face has a flat finish except for the extra brackets that have been added in the section below the cross arm, presumably to add yet further support to the structure, and numerous bolts.

The northeast face of the Cross has the exposed structure of the memorial, which consists of each component featuring three struts that run their length and then are wrapped with aluminium sheeting to create the flat southwest face of the Cross.

Comparative analysis

Given the prominence of ANZACs in the New Zealand psyche after the disastrous events at Gallipoli it is perhaps surprising that there is only a sprinkling of memorials around the country specifically dedicated them. Besides the Tinui ANZAC Cross, other memorials include the ANZAC Memorial Flagpole in Petone, the ANZAC Memorial Tree in Eastbourne, and the ANZAC Memorial Bridge, Kaiparoro. With the exception of the Kaiparoro bridge, these memorials were all constructed during World War One, with the memorial tree in Eastbourne being planted in July 1915, and the Petone ANZAC Memorial Flagpole being erected on 8 April 1916 in time for the inaugural ANZAC Day celebrations, which was when the Tinui ANZAC Memorial Cross was erected as part of the day’s commemorations and services. The ANZAC and Kiwi Halls in Featherston was also constructed during the World War One period, and there is a public garden in Winton, Southland dedicated to the ANZACs.

The variety of forms which these memorials take is a fair representation of the breadth of commemorative structures constructed in relation to World War One, with the Tinui Memorial Cross being unique amongst this small group as a World War One memorial which overtly draws parallels between the sacrifice of Jesus and those who fought at Gallipoli and in World War One in general. The Tinui memorial is also the most remote of these ANZAC Memorials and the only one which was constructed solely through private family funding on behalf of the wider community. One other mountain-top memorial in the shape of a Cross is known, but this was erected in 1952 on the summit of Mount Hector by the Wellington Tramping Club in memory of the trampers and mountaineers who died in the Second World War.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1916 -

1965 -
Cross replaced.

1971 -
Wire struts replaced

Construction Details

Aluminium, concrete.

Completion Date

17th December 2010

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Bagnall, 1976

A. G. Bagnall, Wairarapa; An Historical Excursion, Trentham, 1976

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1897

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.1, Wellington, 1897

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Nathan, J.M., 'Maunsell, Robert 1810-1894.' Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, available at http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/ (updated 22 June 2007)

MacLean, 1990

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

McLintock, 1966

An Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Government Printer, Wellington, 1966

Gentry, 2006

K Gentry and G. McLean ed., Heartlands: New Zealand historians write about where history happened, Auckland, 2006

King, 2005

Jonathan King and Michael Bowers, Gallipoli Untold stories from war correspondent Charles Bean and front-line ANZACs: A 90th Anniversary Tribute Random House New Zealand: Auckland, 2005.

Grant, 1995

Grant, I.F., North of the Waingawa: The Masterton Borough and County Councils, 1877-1989, Masterton, 1995

Maunsell, 2002

Maunsell, J., A Life Full of Flavour: The memories of John Maunsell, Masterton, 2002

Stilborne, 2001

Stilborne, P., Within the history of the Parish of Tinui is the Souvenir Story of the Church of the Good Shepherd 1902-2001, Tinui, 2001

Other Information

This historic place is on private land.

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Central 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.