Spending far too much time looking at her phone while the country was in lockdown, self-confessed busybody Megan Paterson of Kaukapakapa saw a photo on Facebook showing a beautifully restored headstone which had been posted by the NZ Remembrance Army. Formed in January 2019, the Army’s mission is for every service grave in the country to be cleaned and restored to the same standard as the graves of their comrades overseas.
Never one to let an opportunity slide, Megan contacted Dan Walters, the Auckland co- ordinator for NZRA, to talk through the possibility of getting help with the old Kaukapakapa cemetery attached to the historic Peak Road church. Armed with an understanding of the processes involved, she then contacted Maureen and Greville Walker, who gave the go-ahead on behalf of the church cemetery committee.
After cross referencing the names on the Kaukapakapa WW1 and WW11 memorials with the Find A Grave website and Auckland museum’s Online Cenotaph, Megan wa
s able to come up with the graves of 29 local war veterans. Some of these only need to be cleaned, but many will have the lettering restored as per the photos. Grev, Maureen, Athol McLachlan and Megan have contacted the known families. They are still looking for descendants of Walter Deans Cochran, Norman Anthony Follett, and William McKay. If you have contact with any of these families, please let Megan know. (Contacts are 021 959017 and three firstname.lastname@example.org).
This is a work-in-progress, with obvious weather constraints, and Megan is excited to see the results when the project is completed. She says the heroes of the story are the NZ Remembrance Army, a group of volunteers who have taken on this awesome task of respect. Sponsored by Bio-Shield and Resene, you can find out more about the