Te Arawa Soldiers Memorial

Te Arawa Memorial, public art, Rotorua

Public Art : Te Arawa memorial (also known as the King George V memorial)

Sculptor : © W.H. Feldon

Description : The eight sided, 5 tiered, Gothic style  monument  is perched on top of three granite steps and was carved from Sydney grit stone. The first tier (going from the bottom) which includes the steps features and inset carving of a traditional Arawa canoe with the words "te upoko i takaia i te akatea" which is a saying odten used for a brave warrior meaning :—He binds up his head, or wounds, and fights away.

The second tier features eight black marble panels bearing the 37 names of sons of the Arawa people who died fighting for their country in World War I. It also features a carving of the Maori Regimental Badge of World War I, which includes two Maori weapons crossed like swords under the British crown. On the badge is the motto "Te Hokowhitu a Tu" which signified the 140 warriors of the war god, Tu-mata-uenga.

The third tier features, in the front, carvings of Edward VII, Victoria, and George V. The carvings on the other side are of a Red Cross nurse holding a wreath, flanked by two soldiers representing the navy and army.

The next tier features 4 historical panels telling the story of the Te Arawa people. The first carving is of Te Kuraimonoa a beautiful maiden who Pūhaorangi, a celestial being had descended from the heavens to sleep with. This is who the Arawa people believe they descended from. If you look very closely at the carving you will see there is a star above her head (and just below King George V's feet), which represents the star which guided her people from their homeland of Hawaiki in Polynesia to the North Island of New Zealand following a war many centuries ago.

The second carving is of Reverend Thomas Chapman , from the Church Missionary Society, who established himself at Ohinemutu in 1835. He was the first missionary to venture among the Arawa people and was one of the strongest forces for cultural change in the area.

The third carving is a collection of traditional Maori war weapons.

The final carving on this tier is of a seated Governor Hobson signing the Treaty of Waitangi on 6th February, 1840, with a standing chief Tupara Tanira watching on. Tanira was the only Arawa chief who signed the treaty. Above Governor Hobson the British flag is flying.

Finally the 5th and final tier right at the top of the memorial features a stone carving of King George V in regal dress with his left hand clasping a sword.

Date Unveiled : The Te Arawa memorial was unveiled by H.R.H. the Duke of York (later to become King George VI) on the 28th of February, 1927.

Location: The Te Arawa memorial can be found in the Government Gardens near the museum, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Inscriptions :

The Duke of York

by the
in perpetual
of their sons
who in the
loyally upheld
the cause of
their god,
their country,
and their king.

Treaty of Waitangi : The Treaty of Waitangi was basically an agreement between the British Crown and various Maori chiefs from the North Island to elect a British Governor of New Zealand and in return they would recognise Māori ownership of their lands and other properties, and give the Māori the same rights as British subjects.That was all well and good but the Treaty basically gave Britain sovereignty over New Zealand, and gave the Governor the right to govern the country. Further to the confusion it was later discovered that the English and Maori versions of the treaty differed significantly. Surprise, surprise! Maori believed they gave up their right of governance in return for protection, but without giving up their authority to manage their own affairs. Despite several chiefs refusing to sign  the treaty (including chief Te Arawa) on 21 May 1840, Lieutenant-Governor Hobson proclaimed sovereignty over the whole country.

Carving of Arawa canoe, Rotarua, Memorial

1st Tier - featuring a carving of a traditional Arawa canoe.

Te Arawa Soldiers Memorial, Rotorua, public art

2nd Tier featuring the Maori Regimental Badge of World War I

Carvings of Queen Victoria, Te Arawa Soldiers Memorial. Rotorua

3rd Tier carvings of  Edward VII, Victoria, and George V

Te Arawa War Memorial, Rotorua, New Zealand

  4th tier featuring the signing ot the controversial Treaty of Waitangi

King George V memorial, Rotorua, public art

5th Tier features a stone carving of King George V

Te Arawa Soldiers Memorial, Rotorua, public art


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