Remembering the memorials

May 20, 2016

To the Memory: New Zealand’s War Memorials,
by Jock Phillips (Potton and Burton, RRP $60):

Leading New Zealand historian Jock Phillips spend three decades researching his latest book, To the Memory, an affectionate and respectful catalogue of the war memorials around New Zealand.

Published in mid-April, in time to take advantage of the patriotism that always comes as we mark Anzac Day, this book highlights more than 1000 memorials in public spaces throughout the country. Unfortunately, most of us only acknowledge those monuments on Anzac Day itself, but they are worthy of note and respect year-round.

These memorials and monuments are many and varied, ranging from gates to fountains, and remember the more than 30,000 New Zealanders who have died in wars since 1840. While a huge amount of time, energy and resources have gone into the creation of these memorials, they are often overlooked for most of the year.

And sadly, with the current state of our world, it’s highly likely there will be many more war dead to remember in memorials throughout the country in the future.

The author spent more than 30 years researching this book, which tells the fascinating story of why and how the memorials were erected. There was often a reluctance to have the memorials, with some people believing they would glorify war, but for many of those left at home, the memorials became a surrogate grave – somewhere to go to mourn their lost loved ones.

Every war, and every town, has a story, and this book looks at them all – from the New Zealand wars and beyond. Packed with historic and contemporary photographs, To the Memory is a beautifully put together and very readable book.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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