Yes, like a lot of other towns in New Zealand we have a clock tower too.
Our clock tower was made as a war memorial and was unveiled on a very wet day in July 1922 by Govenor General Lord Jellicoe to remember those men who died in the First World War.
In 1952 a concrete lecturn was erected in front of the clock tower to commemorate the men who fell in the Second World War.
So this is a special place – especially on ANZAC Day when we remember all the past wars and pray that there will be no others.
Today the clock tower is still situated on our main street and has two giant phoenix palms growing beside it, some pretty little gardens and of course – a German Field Gun.
The Field Gun was captured 1918 and (for some reason I’m not sure of) was presented to Waipawa by the government. In 1981 the gun was taken away to be restored, and on ANZAC day 1982 the gun was returned to the district council to become a part of our town’s war memorial where it still stands.
It is surprising perhaps that even though our clock tower stands proud and tall on our main street, and it chimes the time every quarter hour during the daylight hours, many people from other places seem to be able to drive past it and not see it. They will say such things as “Oh, have you got a town clock?” or “Where is it? I’ve never seen it!”
Perhaps it is for this reason the council has decided to light it up at night…?
Or perhaps it is because they are trying hard to give us here in Waipawa, a sense of ‘dignity’ – as more people seemed to notice a certain duck and called it our icon… and the council (and one or two others) would prefer the clock to be our icon.
I see the clock as a war memorial… A sacred, holy place of remembrance… Not to be confused with the quirky large icons which many smaller towns like to associate themselves with to sell themselves to travellers.
Pity we can’t have both… They both fulfill totally different functions.