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New Zealand’s oldest war memorial to be refurbished

Work has begun on refurbishment of New Zealand’s oldest war memorial, the Weeping Woman, located in Moutoa Gardens, Whanganui. It is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

New Zealand’s first war memorial stands in Moutoa Gardens in Whanganui. The weeping woman, a personification of Grief, commemorates 15 kūpapa (Māori fighting on the government side) and one European who were killed at Moutoa Island, 80 km upriver, on 14 May 1864. Image sourced from NZHistory.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is undertaking the work following close consultation with the Pakaitore Historic Reserve Board which has oversight of the Gardens. The Memorial is one of about 4,000 war graves and memorials for which the Ministry has responsibility.

The refurbishment of the white marble statue is being carried out by Manawatu Museum Services Limited, assisted by a local artist Aaron Te Rangiao.

Work began with a blessing ceremony on Friday 26 May led by Kaumatua John Maihi, with Board Chairman Jay Rerekura, Kuia Mrs Kataraina Millen and other local people closely involved in the project attending, along with the contractors.

Further information on the memorial, including photos, can be found at:

Updated on 13th June 2017