Crosses honour fallen soldiers

01:29, Apr 04 2014
Graham Sutton
His part: Rapaura Timber owner Graham Sutton with some of the crosses that will be planted along the Taylor River to honour fallen Marlborough soldiers. His business supplied much of the wood used to make the 250 crosses being planted

The soldiers of Marlborough who served their country will be honoured on Saturday morning when 250 white crosses are erected on the banks of the Taylor River, Blenheim.

Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman will place the first cross and members of the public will be invited to place the remaining 249.

An honours board will also be erected at a short ceremony starting at 10am and hosted by the Marlborough RSA.

The project has been in the works since the beginning of the year, with volunteers working to have the crosses complete in time.

Marlborough RSA vice-chairman Rod Shoemark said that the crosses were made by members of the RSA and the Marlborough Guild of Woodworkers.

They were painted by inmates at the Christchurch Women's Prison.


"We are very pleased with how the project has gone," Shoemark said.

"The Marlborough community has been excellent in providing sponsorship."

Marlborough is not the only RSA to take on the project, which is a national RSA drive and has already been taken up by the RSAs in Devonport and Takapuna [in Auckland] and in Whangarei.

"There is also special significance in doing this now as this year is the 100th anniversary of [the start of] World War I and next year is the 100th Anzac Day," Shoemark said.

The project will continue until next year, with plans for a further 300 crosses to be built and planted in a field of remembrance on the banks of the Taylor River in 2015. The 50 metre long area has been set aside by the Marlborough District Council for the crosses to stand in each year during the month of April. The RSA also plans to have crosses made to be placed at other areas around Marlborough that have war memorials.

"We think it's a wonderful visual way to commemorate those Marlborough soldiers who fought and died for their country," Shoemark said. "They are not specific to the World Wars but all conflicts that Kiwis have been involved in up to the modern day."

The Marlborough Express