Like everywhere in New Zealand, Wairarapa’s Tinui settlement was deeply affected by the Great War. Back in 1914 there were over a thousand single men in the area. Many joined up for service. Some never returned.
In 1916, Reverend Basil Ashcroft held the world’s first ANZAC ceremony at Tinui, after which he erected a wooden cross on Tinui Taipo, a rocky outcrop rising 300 meters behind Tinui village. While the old cross has since been replaced with a more durable model, the significance of the site has remained unchanged. The annual ANZAC ceremony there has grown in popularity over the years, with hundreds in attendance in recent times. In 2013, the site was officially recognised with a category 1 listing by Heritage New Zealand (formerly Historic Places Trust), the highest listing that can be given.
The Tinui Parish ANZAC Trust was established in 2010 to preserve the sanctity of Tinui’s ANZAC heritage and annual memorial service, which is expected to draw large numbers in 2015 for the centenary commemorations. In anticipation of this event the Trust has developed a new walkway to the ANZAC cross in collaboration with Tinui Forest Park Ltd, M and L Hodgins, and the NZ Walking Access Commission. The walkway crosses over private land owned by Tinui Forest Park, passing through a patch of rich native bush that the owners have protected with a QEII National Trust covenant. Nature and history thus have enduring protection at this special place. Walkers are treated to spectacular views as they climb through the bush to reach the cross at the hill’s crest; a special place to catch one’s breath and take time to reflect on the sacrifices made by our ANZAC soldiers.
The walkway is open to the public from 1 November to 25 April.
(A good level of fitness is required to complete the walk.)
Story published in Open Space magazine (issue 88, March 2015).