The memorial at Kaitāia was unveiled on 24 March 1916, less than a year after the Gallipoli landings. It was New Zealand's first stone monument to the dead of the First World War. The impulse for the memorial came from L. T. Busby, a Māori man from Pukepoto in the far north, who arranged for the marble angel to be acquired from some Auckland stonemasons, McNab and Mason. The inscription is in both Māori and English. The English reads:
In loving memory and in honour of our sons and relations both Maori and Pakeha, dead or living from the county of Mangonui who willingly offered themselves to sacrifice their lives to uphold the honour of the king and empire and for the glory of God in this terrible war which began in Europe in August 1914, and has since spread over the greater part of the world.
Splashing through the mountainous waves of the Indian Ocean our brave lads uphold the names of your noble ancestors: seek to avenge the deaths of your relations that have fallen. God will give victory to the righteous.
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