Soundshell and War Memorial
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Photo caption – “NAPIER. N.Z.”
Soundshell almost completed, South African War Memorial still missing soldier
Statues of soldiers atop a pedestal were a common central 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 tall statue stands on a plinth above a smaller but no less impressive carved stone lion with shield. It is sited beside Marine Parade across the road from the city’s waterfront park and memorial arch. It was unveiled by Governor Lord Plunket at a large community ceremony on 11 February 1906.
After sustaining damage in the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake – the monument was shattered and the trooper lost his head – there was debate about moving the memorial to the site of the old city gaol. Following pressure from the Dominion Association of the South African War Veterans, it was re-erected on the original spot in February 1947.