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Waikaraka Cemetery, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand

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The first burial at Waikaraka Cemetery took place in 1890. The cemetery is located at 1 Alfred Street in Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand.

The following is from 'Waikaraka Cemetery veterans’ memorial', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-Feb-2014:

In 1883 the NZ Government granted Onehunga Borough an area of 47 acres on the edge of the Manukau Harbour for use as a recreation ground, rifle range and public cemetery. This area became known as Waikaraka Park. In July 1890 a cemetery was opened—somewhat controversially—on the southern portion of the reserve.

Waikaraka Cemetery became the customary burial place for late residents of the Ranfurly Veterans’ Home in nearby Three Kings. The Ranfurly Home had been opened in 1903 as a South African War memorial and as a home for old soldiers who had seen active service in the British army or navy or (in some cases) the colonial forces.

Fundraising to restore the graves in the veterans’ portion of the cemetery, and to erect a suitable memorial to those buried there, began in 1909. In 1913 Onehunga Borough Council gave permission for work to proceed. There were some delays because of shortage of funds, but on 26 April 1917 Governor the Earl of Liverpool finally unveiled a substantial War Veterans’ Memorial on the site.

The monument, designed by Auckland architect Norman Wade, and erected by McNab and Mason, consisted of a semi-circular reinforced concrete wall, covered by a white granite plaster finish, and surmounted by an obelisk in the centre, a statue of a soldier at one end and a statue of a sailor at the other. A marble tablet inset below the obelisk explained the purpose of the memorial (“To commemorate the names of the veterans who fought in defence of the Empire and died at the Auckland Veterans’ Home”).

The name, unit, age and date of death of each of the 52 veterans thus far buried in the cemetery were inscribed on small marble tablets mounted on the wall. Their individual plots were also restored and marked with plain marble slabs.

Many other names have been added to the memorial since. The early tablets mostly acknowledged service in various Imperial regiments, the Royal Artillery, the Royal Navy or the ‘N.Z. Forces’ (i.e. service in imperial campaigns overseas and/or the New Zealand Wars). Acknowledgements to service in the ‘Maori Wars’ [sic], Egypt, South African War, Great War and in the various branches of service, including the Samoan Relief Force and the Merchant Marine, were added in later years.

At the time of the unveiling, high tide on the Manukau reached almost to the foot of the memorial. Some land has been reclaimed since, and a servicemen’s lawn cemetery has been developed behind the memorial.

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