Today’s rededication ceremony for the 63 Public Trust Office employees who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars paid tribute to their sacrifice as ordinary New Zealanders who were civil servants and fathers, sons and brothers.
The names of the servicemen are recorded on the two plaques which feature in the foyer of the iconic Lambton Quay Public Trust building where the honours boards were originally installed. Both plaques were removed when Public Trust moved out of the building in 1982 and have been reinstated after they were located in the current Wellington Public Trust premises as the result of a research project.
Ground foyer with the Public Trust Roll of Honour.
Speaking at the commemoration Chief Executive Manatū Taonga Paul James said many public service departments erected honours boards following the First World War, but this was one of just a handful in its original location.
“We are proud to be involved in this significant occasion and see both the World War One and World War Two Honours Boards returned to their rightful home.
“The honours boards remind us that those who died were men who came to work each day as civil servants with many walking up the same stairs Ministry for Culture and Heritage staff ascend today,” Paul James said.
Chief Executive Public Trust Bob Smith said the impeccably handcrafted brass plaques held pride of place in the foyer for many years and seeing them returned was special.
“Almost half our male employees enlisted in World War One and by the time the war ended, 135 men had served,” he said. “A third of those men would have at one stage, worked here in this building.
“By the time the Second World War ended, more than 500 Public Trust Officers were either in the armed forces or had been seconded for duty in departments directly concerned with the war effort.
“Each name on these boards represents someone’s loved one. These were ordinary New Zealanders; they were fathers, brothers and sons,” Mr Smith said.
State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie placing a wreath.
The Last Post and Rouse played by Leading Aircraftswoman Sarah Henderson, Royal New Zealand Air Force, was a feature of the commemoration service and State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie laid a wreath.
Further information about the men honoured is available at the NZHistory memorial page: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/public-trust-office-roll-honour-boards
Updated on 18th February 2016