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Napier Roll of Honour released for public scrutiny

Research reveals Napier's Roll of Honour should be twice its former size.

Field of poppies 50588

The Napier Roll of Honour has almost doubled in size, following extensive work by a dedicated group of researchers since January.

The number of names, from the South African war through to the Vietnam War, on the draft Roll of Honour, now stands at 1042. It has been published today in the Napier Courier and is also available to view online at www.napier.govt.nz #wmcwarmemorial. 

Researchers, led by MTG Hawke’s Bay, have compiled the draft after checking lists in various publications since January, when public meetings were held to set the research criteria.

The revised Roll recognises Napier servicemen and women who lost their lives while on active duty during the South African war, WWI, WWII, the occupation of Japan,  and Vietnam.

“The draft represents hundreds of hours of work by the researchers. While we've done their best to be accurate, we need families to check the details and let us know if there are any errors,” says Charles Ropitini, project manager for the review of the Roll of Honour.

Research has also helped paint a picture of the Napier community at that time. He added that it was clear from the research that the locals were extremely close, they all knew each other.

NCC's Charles Ropitini: "The draft represents hundreds of hours of work by the researchers. While we've done their best to be accurate, we need families to check the details and let us know if there are any errors." 

Napier was a tourist town then as well. There were people here on their OEs, filling roles such as porters at the Masonic Hotel, who enlisted when war broke out.

Napier Boys High School was one of the premiere boarding school for boys in New Zealand, so boys from around the country enlisted here.

The researchers also discovered war service was an inter-generational affair, with some families having three successive generations involved in battles, from the era of the New Zealand wars through to South Africa, and both WWI and WWII.

Mr Ropitini acknowledged the work of Cathy Dunn, Collection Assistant at MTG, Phillip Rankin, Archivist, Napier Boys High School, and Madelon van Zijl de Jong, who is continuing to research other lists.

As stated earlier this year, Mr Ropitini said the Roll is only as accurate as the information they have at the time it is reviewed. Research of rolls across the country has found that it is difficult to have a complete and finite list, and as personnel records are released to the public over the coming decades there will be a need to periodically review Rolls of Honour.

Anyone wishing to make changes to the Roll should contact communityservices@napier.govt.nz. Researchers have also collated some of the personal stories of people on the Roll of Honour, and associated narratives. Any media wishing to view these stories should also contact communityservices@napier.govt.nz.

14 November 2018

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