Eketahuna’s war memorial, and a lost dog

At Eketahuna, as at nearby Kaiparoro, the community chose to erect a functional World War I memorial – a hall and public rest rooms. By mid-1924, there was still £300 left to be raised by the Eketahuna War Memorial committee for completion of the building and surrounding grounds. The building was finally opened in early 1925.

Before the final decision on the memorial had been made, back in 1920, the Eketahuna Borough Council had planned to purchase “40 acres of land in the centre of the town, one of the beauty spots of the district, as a memorial park” – at a cost of £60 per acre. This, however, elicited “no interest” from residents and the idea was abandoned.

Ref: ‘War Memorials: What NZ Towns are Doing’, Patea Mail, 29 March 1920, sourced from Papers Past website.

I went to check out Eketahuna last Wednesday.  I had a parcel of Easter treats to post to my son who is on an Outward Bound course at Anakiwa.  And I also had a portable hard drive that refused to work that I wanted to drop off for the local computer man to (hopefully!) fix for me.

The first thing I saw when I got to Eketahuna was a dog.  He was large and very hairy, and he was wandering loose along the main road.  There was a lot of traffic, and I was worried he was going to get hurt.  He wouldn’t let me catch him, though, and when some other people tried to catch him as well, he ran away.

I dropped my parcel off at the Four Square, and then I stopped in at the little café next door for a coffee and a yummy chocolate brownie treat.  After that, I crossed the road to see the giant White Kiwi before walking around the block and up the little hill behind the main road to get to the medical centre, which was where I was dropping off my broken hard drive.

And there was the dog again, heading back down towards the main road.  I called him and luckily this time he decided to come over and say hello.  I grabbed his collar so he wouldn’t escape!  He was a very friendly dog, but he was also very smelly – obviously a working dog from a farm somewhere.  He liked me patting him and talking to him, and he was very happy to come along with me to the medical centre – but when we got there he would not let me go near the door.  I had to ask a man who was going into the centre to get someone to come out and help. 

The lady at the medical centre lent me a lead, and I rang the number for the council that was printed on the dog’s tag.  The council lady told me to take the dog down to the Eketahuna Library, where the librarian, Claire, would help the dog to find his home.  When I got to the library, Claire gave the dog a big ice cream container full of water, and he lay down on the footpath by the door to wait for his owner to arrive.

And so that was my first visit to Eketahuna.  Thanks to that dog, I think just about everybody in town now knows who I am!

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