Memorial Benches

By Julia Kennedy

Two marble seats add to the symmetrical layout of the original part of the Soldiers Cemetery. They were presented by the Women’s National Reserve (W.N.R) in 1920.

The seats were designed by Mr W Page and the marble was supplied, and design executed, by Messrs Hansford and Mills. They cost £60 each. At that time they were placed, the newspaper described the location as “being in front of the rose gardens and near each seat is a Spanish chestnut tree”.

The W.N.R was launched in August 1915 to demonstrate that in addition to a reserve of man-power, New Zealand also had a reserve of women-power. Women were invited to register their names for employment in professional and clerical fields, farming, shops, factories and domestic employment.

In 1918, at the request of the W.N.R, WCC set apart a portion of Karori Cemetery for a soldiers’ memorial cemetery.

In 1919 an offer from the W.N.R Girls’ Club was made to decorate the graves with flowers regularly, and also to plant flowers when the borders were ready. This work was continued every Saturday for several years.

Memorial bench 2022
Memorial bench inscription, 2022
Memorial bench, 2022
Soliders cemetery 1925, photo courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library ref 1/2-045825-G