We were very excited to watch a special pop up garden be installed outside St Matthew’s this week, as part of our Armistice Day centenary remembrance celebrations. The impetus for creating this memorial peace garden on the Federal St side of St Matthew in the City came from landscape designer Tania Barke, of Through the Garden Gate Ltd. Tania’s inspiration for the installation was from a relative’s sobering letter written from the war front, describing the conditions he encountered at Le Quesnoy in Northern France.
The town of Le Quesnoy has a special place in New Zealand’s WWI history. On the 4th November 1918, shortly before Armistice Day, the town was liberated from German occupation by NZ forces, who at great risk used a ladder to scale the almost impregnable ancient town walls. To this day, a strong bond remains between the town and New Zealand, there are many reminders of the liberation there, and Kiwis are still warmly welcomed when visiting.
Tania’s concept offers a glimpse into the appalling conditions on the ground, while scattered wild flowers emerge through the landscape, symbolising hope and new life.
This exhibit honours the memory of the thousands of New Zealanders who died at war, amongst them parishioners and clergy of St Matthew’s. It encourages locals and passers-by to spend a few minutes reflecting on the scene before them and to remember everyone affected by the conflicts of war.
We are most grateful for the support of Daltons Landscape Supplies, Kokako Coffee and Through the Garden Gate Ltd which made this all possible.
Our service this coming Sunday November 11 at 10am will centre around this important occasion and we will hear the stories of those remembered in the St Matthew’s war memorial. The service will conclude at 11am with a 2 minute silence followed by the St Matthew’s bellringers joining in a nationwide “Roaring Chorus”, emulating what would have happened 100 years ago.
You are warmly invited to attend - we’d love to see you and perhaps hear some of your own stories or memories from those you knew.