Home' Napier Mail : July 26th 2011 Contents 7
NAPIER MAIL, JULY 27, 2011
ASB Napier looks
just the same.
But inside is
shiny and new.
ASB Napier branch
Cnr Hastings and Emerson Streets
Mon to Fri -- 9am to 4.30pm
It looks the same from the street, but when you pop in to see us at ASB Napier
you'll see a big difference.
That's because we've spruced up the old branch, providing you with a relaxed
and modern environment including all the latest banking technology to make
things really easy. You'll also find the same friendly faces waiting to
say hello and help you out with whatever you need.
So next time you're wandering past, make
sure you pop in and see us.
ASB Bank Limited PPU35271
United Travel Taradale
261 Gloucester St
(06) 845 9030
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86 Tennyson St
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Hawkes Bay wide Ph: 06 870 9000
The face of a soldier: Statue is of a soldier in
With respect: Life-sized marble trooper
commemorates the sons of Hawke's Bay.
By CAROLYN VEEN
A handsome monument of a life-
sized trooper, carved in marble,
standing upon a lofty pedestal on
Napier's Marine Pde, was erected by
the people of Hawke's Bay to com-
memorate the part taken by the
sons of her province'' in the South
African War 1899 to 1902.
It was unveiled by Governor-
General Lord Plunket at a large com-
munity ceremony on February 10,
While statues of soldiers on top of
pedestals were a common feature of
South African War memorials,
Napier's was the only one featuring a
trooper in a posture of mourning
with his rifle pointed down. The
inscription did not mention the war
dead; instead it paid a tribute to the
patriotism of the Hawke's Bay
volunteers who had offered their
services to the empire's cause.
The following article, Off with his
Head written by Robert McGregor,
was published in the Art Deco
Trust's latest edition of Newest City
A casualty of the 1931 earth-
quake was the soldier atop the South
African War Memorial on the Marine
Parade. The marble statue toppled
from its plinth, but apart from being
decapitated it was unscathed. A
photograph exists (whereabouts
unknown) of a boy holding the head,
and another of the empty plinth with
the head sitting beside it. It seems
remarkable that somebody didn't
hurriedly rescue it and store it in a
safe place, but people behave oddly
after a major earthquake, being in
The plinth, which originally stood
to the south of its present location,
where it could be seen from the inter-
section of Emerson and Hastings
streets, stood empty for several
years, until in 1936 the borough
council considered a proposal that
the position should be altered. The
approval of the South African War
Veteran's Association was sought,
with a promise that if they agreed to
the relocation, the statue would
In October 1937 the council made
enquiries about the availability of a
suitable piece of marble from which a
new head could be sculpted.
But the search proved fruitless
and so efforts were made to locate
the head. With the assistance of the
police, enquiries were made in Gis-
borne, Wairoa and other North
Island districts and various people
came forward with explanations --
the head was in the possession of
someone in another town, the head
had been dumped in the Tangoio
Creek, it had been destroyed, and it
had been seen on the back of a lorry
headed for Gisborne.
But all leads led nowhere. And
then -- a miracle of sorts.
Suddenly, in January 1938, by a
coincidence that seems too remark-
able to be a coincidence, a workman
digging on the edge of the creek
alongside Georges Drive, during the
remodelling of the banks, found the
head buried under spoil that was
Apart from some staining, a chip
or two, and the loss of part of the
brim of the hat, the head was in good
condition. The Daily Telegraph
mused on the possible explanations,
stating that as there was no other
masonry in the vicinity, it was
unlikely that it was dumped there by
men clearing the streets of rubble
immediately after the quake.
The alternative suggestion, and
doubtless the correct one, was that
someone had taken possession of the
head and kept it hidden until the
publicity, and the involvement of the
police had made it expedient to
divest himself of the booty and hide
it where it would soon be found.
This possibility was contradicted
somewhat by the paper's statement
that it was begrimed by its seven
years in contact with spoil and
debris, when it was more likely that
it had been buried only for a matter
Arguments raged for a long time
about a new position for the statue.
It was not until 1947 that the pre-
sent position was decided on and it
was reinstalled.'' (Abridged)
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