Crosses reminder of town's sacrifice
Dozens of Matamata-Piako men who lie in war graves far from home have been honoured with stark white crosses in the district's main towns.
Each cross bears the number, rank and name of the fallen, with a green fern leaf and a red poppy at the top of the cross.
The crosses were donated by the Fields of Remembrance Trust and were painted and erected by volunteers.
Te Aroha RSA president Russell Smith said 100 white crosses were erected outside the Te Aroha Returned and Services Association in Rewi St on Sunday afternoon.
In Te Aroha, 440 men enlisted and 100 lost their lives, the most lives lost from towns in the Piako district, he said.
The crosses will be taken down this week but will be displayed at various times over the next four years, the next being Armistice Day on November 11.
In Morrinsville, about 30 people attended a blessing by retired St Matthews Church priest Lindsay Wright at the rose garden in Moorhouse St on Monday. Matamata-Piako District Mayor Jan Barnes and Morrinsville RSA president Trevor Close also spoke at the service.
In Matamata's Founders Park, 31 crosses now stand to represent those from Matamata who made the ultimate sacrifice.
MP for Waikato, Lindsay Tisch, attended the service and said over the next four years New Zealanders would be increasing their presence at Anzac Day services. "When you travel around New Zealand, you see many war memorials with lists of the fallen from that town, or city or country district.
"They remind us that each community has its stories to tell.
"From now until 2019, when we mark the centenary of our troops returning, the various commemorations, events and projects throughout the country will provide us with the opportunity to honour those who have gone before us, and reflect on their legacy."
In other war commemorations locally, Matamata-Piako District Council will also plant a memorial garden in Matamata this winter to be ready for Anzac Day 2015. The proposed site is an existing garden bed on Broadway.
Planted will be the Gallipoli rose and rosemary, which are the official flora symbols of Gallipoli.