Kaipara Memorial RSA: Helensville Service Cemetery

Late last year members of the Kaipara Memorial RSA committee including Kevin Otto, Noel Bodle and President Rex Keane were joined by members of the Remembrance Army, Megan Patterson and Dan Walters and met with Auckland Council staff and Chris Fraser from Bronze Plaques NZ, who are contracted by Veterans Affairs to audit the Service Cemeteries around NZ.
Chris informed us that he checks all the plaques and plinths for condition and that they are not loose, that there is a “Seat of Remembrance” and “a granite sign” in place, the cenotaph is in good condition, the flag pole is in working order and the grounds are neatly mown. One item that Chris noted was that Helensville does not have sufficient parking. He will report back to Veterans Affairs. Chris requests that relatives use the concrete vases next to the plaques for flowers, rather than a glass jar, which get blown over and smashed. Chris also gave us a packet of “Flanders Field Poppy” seeds to grow in time for ANZAC and Armistice Day commemorations.
We did question him about the condition of the Cenotaph at Parakai, but he told us that it is under the control of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. The Parakai Cenotaph has a Council Designation around it, marking it on Council planning maps and documents, to protect it from future developments.
Remembrance Army
After the meeting, Dan Walters and Megan Patterson showed us some of the Headstones of World War One veterans, which had been restored by the Remembrance Army, they stand out amongst the other grave sites. Whilst a large number of WW1 veterans were KIA and buried in War Cemeteries overseas, those who returned did not have the benefit of a New Zealand Service Cemetery, until they were created after World War Two.
If you have a spare hour or two, wander around the Helensville Service Cemetery, then visit some of the WW1 grave sites, which the Remembrance Army has restored.
President Rex Keane says anyone is welcome to visit the Kaipara Memorial RSA’s museum during opening hours or arrange a visit and browse through our library, citations, plaques, medals, badges and military equipment on display. Email kaipararsa@xtra.co.nz or phone Rex 027 293 2768 for more information.
Lest We Forget

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