Over the last 100-plus years, hundreds of thousands of New Zealand soldiers have been called to war in foreign lands.
Many died in those conflicts (30,000 in the two world wars alone) and the nation mourned, going on to commemorate their sacrifice in various ways including naming streets or buildings after them, planting trees in their names, and erecting monuments.
The national Poppy Places project is about ensuring we never forget. The genesis of the project is in knowing that many of our street names and places are directly related to people and events from overseas military history. Often, after all this time, the details are known to only a small and shrinking number of people.
By using the Poppy (an internationally known symbol) to mark these places, those who pass by will be reminded of their sacrifice.
The New Zealand Poppy Places Trust develops, promotes, and oversees the nation-wide project, encouraging all New Zealanders in local communities to:
- Identify places which have a link to our military involvement in a conflict or operational service overseas
- Research and record the history of these places on the poppyplaces.org.nz website
- Link the physical with the recorded history, by joining the community in an organised remembrance ceremony to educate and to forever mark the place/monument with a poppy
Find out more about the National Poppy Places Project.
In Hastings, the following streets are among those to have been recognised as Poppy Places and have their stories recorded:
- Elliott Cres, Havelock North
- Upham St, Havelock North
- Nigel St, Havelock North
- Crichton Pl, Havelock North
- Ngarimu St, Havelock
- Russell St, Hastings
- Selwyn Rd, Havelock North
- Kain Pl, Hastings
Other Poppy Places streets
Further streets identified, for which research is yet to be completed, include:
- Freyberg St, Hastings. Sir Bernard (Tiny) Cyril Freyberg (WWI) was born in London in 1889, immigrating to New Zealand with his parents James and Julia and other siblings when he was two years old. He had a distinguished war service and was a New Zealand Governor General.
- Whakatomo Pl, Havelock North. Thomas Whakatomo Ellison was killed in action in WWI. His mother’s grief inspired the song E Pari Ra.
- Allenby St, Hastings. Named for Field Marshal Sir Edmund Allenby (WWI and Boer War).
- French St, Hastings.Named for Field Marshal John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres.
- Haig St, (Terrace Ln renamed as Haig St 17 August, 1922), Hastings. After the end of WWI Field Marshall the Earl Haig set up the Haig Fund to help all servicemen who were either financially stressed or were incapacitated due to being wounded.
- Kitchener St, Hastings. Named for Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener; Boer War and WWI. In 1910 between the Boer War and WWI, Lord Herbert Kitchener was invited by the New Zealand government to visit and advise on the country's defence arrangements. At the conclusion of his visit he made a number of recommendations, one of which was the establishment of a New Zealand Staff Corps. Later, in 1915, it was Kitchener who, after visiting the troops and seeing the conditions they were dealing with, recommended the evacuation from Gallipoli.
- Lovat St, Havelock North. Named by Murdo John Kelt on land he subdivided, having served with Colonel Lovat (WWI).
- Montgomery St and Montgomery Pl, Hastings. Named for Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, known as Monty, who was in command of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord from the initial landings until after the Battle of Normandy. Monty and Lord Freyberg were on good terms and served together.
- Roberts St, Hastings. Named after Field Marshal Lord Roberts who was appointed to take over as commander-in-chief in South Africa In charge of a force that included the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. Telegrams from the time reflect how highly he thought of the New Zealanders under his command.
- Wavell St and Wavell Pl, Hastings. Named for Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell who served as Commander-in-Chief Middle East in WWII.
- Memorial Park Ave, Haumoana. Memorial Park Ave in Haumoana comes off Haumoana Rd and leads into the main entrance to Haumoana Memorial Park, the site of the Memorial Arch and Memorial Pavilion. The idea to establish a park as a permanent memorial to soldiers lost in WWII was mooted in 1947 and the memorial avenue, park, pavilion and arch followed, with strong support from the local community.Battleships and naval commanders.
- Beatty St and Beatty Pl, Hastings. Named for Admiral Beatty, Commander Chief of the Royal Fleet in WW1. The battlecruiser HMS New Zealand's first wartime action came at the Battle of Heligoland Bight on 28 August, 1914, as part of the battlecruiser force under the command of Admiral David Beatty.
- Cunningham Cres, Hastings. Believed to be named for Admiral Andrew Browne Cunningham (WWII), Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, who led British naval forces to victory in several critical Mediterranean naval battles. He also responded to the the urging of then New Zealand Prime Minister Peter Fraser to send an extra ship to evacuate New Zealanders about to be trapped on Crete in May 1941 by invading German forces. The HMS Rodney was Admiral Cunningham’s first major command. The HMS Hood was his flagship at one point shortly before WWII.
- Hood St, Hastings. Believed to be named for Rear-Admiral Sir Horace Hood who was with Beatty and Jellicoe at, and died in, the Battle of Jutland in WWI. There was also an HMS Hood British battlecruiser in WWII (named after the 18th-century Admiral Samuel Hood); the 'pride of the Royal Navy' until it was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck.
- Jellicoe St, Hastings. Named for Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe (WWI), 1859-1935, born in Southampton, England. He helped design the Royal Navy's HMS Dreadnaught and in WWI commanded the Grand Fleet from 1914 to 1916. He was New Zealand’s second Governor General, from 1920 to 1924.
Some Hastings streets are named for battleships. About 7000 New Zealand officers and ratings served with the Royal Navy for varying periods during WWII. New Zealanders saw active service in ships of every type from battleships and aircraft-carriers to submarines, motor-launches, and landing craft and in every sea from Spitzbergen in the Arctic to Cape Horn and from Iceland to the shores of Japan. They took part in every major naval engagement or operation and in countless minor actions, as well as in the ceaseless patrols and sea drudgery that make up so great a part of naval warfare.
- Anson St, Hastings. HMS Anson was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, one of several ships named after Admiral George Anson (from the 1700s). New Zealanders are known to have served on the HMS Anson during WWII. The ship’s name also has a link to Cunningham Crescent.
- Norfolk Cres, Hastings: The HMS Norfolk was part of the fleet that sank the German battleship Bismarck. It was one of the major combatant ships in Force H of the Royal Navy.
- Sussex St, Hastings: The HMS Sussex was one of the major combatant ships in Force H of the Royal Navy in 1939, then deployed elsewhere. This was the fourth HMS Sussex. The surrender of the Japanese forces in Singapore was accepted on board the HMS Sussex, and this ship was present at the formal surrender in September 1945.