Memorial under way

A new war memorial garden is well under way in Kaitangata.

A conglomeration of interests have come together to create a modern replacement for the town’s 1955 War Memorial Hall, which was demolished in 2021 after falling into disrepair.

‘‘Kai Promotions [KP] wanted to honour the memorial hall with something everybody could access,’’ KP secretary Joyce Beck said.

‘‘Our Place Kaitangata and the Clutha District Council agreed and got involved to match our fundraising dollar for dollar up to $50,000.’’

About $15,000 was supplied by profits from Mrs Beck’s own publications on Kaitangata’s heritage.

‘‘Andrew Haulage are doing a great job under very hot conditions to lay the concrete path, which matches the local winding of the river.

‘‘Our own volunteer labour will look after landscaping and native plantings inside the circuit.’’

KP president Beau Williams said the quarter-acre memorial area connecting to a lawn and children’s area would feature a South Otago Woodcraft hand-built playground locomotive, which would be joined to the historic mining wagons behind the site’s information kiosk — which would also be updated. ‘‘We’ve got families and organisations donating seating and there will be nine information boards covering the history of ta ¯ngata-whenua, the pioneers, business and society in Kaitangata,’’ Mr Williams said.

‘‘And the original honour-rolls and plaques from the old hall have been installed in the new community centre.’’

Project co-manager Denise Dent said the present fund-seeking environment was complicated by construction costs rapidly increasing while applications were still under review.

‘‘We’re extremely grateful to organisations like Otago Community Trust.

‘‘Kaitangata is on an upward trajectory so it’s great to see local public amenities growing alongside and safeguarding the area’s history at the same time,’’ Mrs Dent said.

Kaitangata Memorial Park construction has been in progress for about three weeks and the team will wait for cooler, wetter autumn weather before they begin planting the gardens.