War Memorial Benefits From Council Volunteer Programme

Hawarden Waikari WW1 Memorial

A significant WWI memorial has been installed between the townships of Hawarden and Waikari by community members, as part of a new Hurunui District Council programme.

Last week volunteers from Hawarden and Waikari added 52 concrete plinths, one beside each established oak tree down Hawarden Waikari Road, with each plinth bearing the name and rank of a local fallen soldier from WWI.

The community felt it fitting to also acknowledge the substantial role horses played during the war effort and a separate plinth has been erected in their honour.

“In order to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (the Act), the council has reviewed and revised its working practices for allowing volunteers to work on council work sites or property,” says council Infrastructure Delivery Manager Dan Harris.

“Many other local authorities have stopped the practice of volunteers carrying out work using machinery due to the requirements imposed under the Act.”

“However, our council has recognised the valuable contribution local volunteers provide to maintaining their parks and reserves.  In order to support this work we have developed a new process that ensures the health and safety of the district’s volunteers,” says Dan.

The process has two stages. The first assesses the competency of the volunteers and the second evaluates their safety plan for the proposed works.

The quality of plans received so far has confirmed the council’s view that there are people in the community with the skills required to supervise and deliver certain work, with the Hawarden/Waikari war memorial now providing a fantastic example of this.

Local councillor and Deputy Mayor Marie Black says she is proud to have been associated with the memorial project from early concept stage and acknowledges community champion Richard Todd’s meticulous planning to bring the project to fruition.

“This project is about recognising the past and looking to the future, and the Hurunui Community Committee is planning to mow the roadside reserve to create a walkway between the two villages to ensure the early vision is not lost.”

“I’m proud of the way our community has worked through the council’s new process that aims to allow and value volunteer work on council property.  This will be a fantastic historical asset for our community going forward,” says Deputy Mayor Black.

The project was community-led, with funding from the Hawarden Licensing Trust, and was governed by the Hawarden Waikari Community Trust.