Memorial project

In 2017 we launched a project to build a memorial that will keep this important piece of our history alive. The memorial will not only commemorate those lost, but also recognise the many good people of the Hokianga who count this story as part of their own.

We believe the memorial will become a distinctive cultural site in the Hokianga, enabling:

  • future generations of Chinese New Zealanders to affirm their history and connection with their ancestors
  • tangata whenua and other New Zealanders to pay their respects and celebrate shared values and common history
  • ongoing public education on Chinese New Zealand history and historic Chinese Maori relations
  • economic benefits to Rawene and other areas in Northland, through increased visitor numbers.

The memorial complements the plaques gifted to Te Roroa and Te Rarawa from the Chinese community (sited at the Waipoua Forest Visitors’ centre in the south and Mitimiti cemetery in the north), and will be a key feature of the Northland Regional Council’s “Wandering with Ancestors” tourism trail. The trail, to be launched at the unveiling of the new memorial, contributes to a cornerstone project within the Northland Economic Action Plan: “Northland Journeys – the Byways”.

Our memorial has been designed by Auckland and New York-based TT Architects whose founders, Richard Tam and Robert Tse, are both descendants of early Chinese New Zealand settlers. The memorial consists of a series of concrete steps and steel panels, and would be located along the cemetery fenceline following the curve of the land. Visitors will be able to walk the steps leading up to the memorial panels.  As they walk they will see wording that outlines the process of moving from grief to memory to honouring.