Twenty-six soldiers from the Woodville district who died in WWII have been commemorated by a living memorial of Tōtara trees at Ferry Reserve.
More than 100 school children, teachers and parents joined Rangitāne tangata whenua, members of the Woodville RSA, Horizons Regional Council, Woodville Lions and Woodville Domain Board to mulch around the 26 trees in preparation for the summer ahead.
Kaumātua Manahi Paewai opened the 4 December event with a blessing. The children from Ballance, Papatawa and Kumeroa Schools were given some background by the Woodville RSA and, with encouragement from the day’s organiser Horizons biodiversity community advisor Neil Mickleson, they got to work.
Funding for the project was provided by Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge Governance Group through Horizons biodiversity programme. This is the second memorial to be planted at Ferry Reserve. A grove of 81 Rata were planted two years ago by children from Woodville Primary School to commemorate soldiers who died in WWI. The red flowers of the Rata are a pertinent reminder of the poppy.
Each child has their name dedicated to a tree and each tree has a number which corresponds to a local soldier. A book in the Woodville Library provides information about each of the soldiers commemorated.