Howick War Memorial

Howick War Memorial

Stockade Hill was built in 1863 during the Waikato War. In 1919 it became a public park. A memorial to those who served in the war was built in 1920.

Built for an earlier war

Howick residents built the stockade in 1863 to defend Auckland from Māori attacks on settlers during the Waikato War. The Howick Stockade is the best preserved structure of its type remaining in the Auckland region and it is a symbolic reminder of conflict between Māori and Pākehā in the region during the colonial period.

In 1894 the Stockade Hill military reserve was gazetted as a market reserve, and in 1895 it was vested in the Howick Road Board. In 1919 Stockade Hill was established as a public park.

Daily reminder

During the First World War, Reverend Boyes, vicar of the Anglican Church, rang the bell of the old parish church daily at noon to remind residents nearby to observe a moment's prayer for the men away fighting.

A permanent reminder

When the war was over, a more permanent reminder of Howick's sacrifice in the war was needed. Work began on a First World War memorial on Stockade Hill towards the end of 1920. Stockade Hill, being one of the most historic and picturesque places in the district, was an obvious choice as the site for the memorial, which took the form of an obelisk. It was built using Coromandel granite.

The memorial was unveiled by Governor-General Lord Jellicoe, accompanied by Lady Jellicoe and their three daughters, on the afternoon of 13 January 1921. About 300 people attended the ceremony.

Mr Alexander Bell, chairman of the war memorial committee, reflected during the unveiling of the memorial that the Howick district sent 100 men and two women to war, and of these, 30 soldiers and one nursing sister (named on the memorial) made the supreme sacrifice.

The Howick First World War Memorial served as a memorial for the whole of the Howick and Pakuranga district, but later became known simply as the Howick War Memorial.

Site for Anzac Day

The Howick Returned Soldiers' Association built a flagstaff on the hill in 1935. For many years the obelisk served simply as the site for the wreath-laying ceremonies, but in 1961 the entire Anzac Day service was held on the hill.

On 25 April 2006, during an Anzac Day dawn ceremony, a memorial plaque was unveiled on Stockade Hill, in memory of Reginald Judson VC DCM MM , who had reputedly planted an oak tree there eighty years before.

The Howick War Memorial is the major Anzac Day gathering place for local people every year.

Reginald Judson

Reginald Judson was one of New Zealandʼs most decorated soldiers of the war, winning a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), Military Medal (MM), and the Victoria Cross (VC) for bravery in France between July and August 1918. In peacetime he served on the Auckland City Council between 1938 and 1947. One of his sons, also called Reginald, won the Military Cross during the Second World War, and later served as Mayor of Manurewa from 1948 to 1953.

There are two oak trees on Stockade Hill today. According to one report, Mr Judson senior planted one of the trees on Anzac Day 1926, while the other was planted on 18 June 1942. Judson likely brought the acorn from Great Windsor Park in London.

An article in the New Zealand Herald alternatively suggested that the 1926 acorn had been given to Mr Judson by the Duke of York when he served as the Duke's official escort during a royal visit to New Zealand. This is unlikely, since the Duke's visit took place in 1927.

The later (1942) tree, however, may also have been grown from a so-called 'Coronation acorn' brought back to New Zealand by a Mr S Rutherford from Windsor Park.

Judson was born at Port Albert and is remembered in Wellsford at the Albertland & District Museum.

Other Howick places to visit

Another First World War memorial in this area is the stained-glass window at St Andrew's Church Centre (11 Vincent Street, Howick). The chapel next to St Andrew's also has a roll of honour listing men of the Auckland Presbytery who lost their lives during the first year of the war.

You can also visit the grave of Captain Sir Donald Simson at Howick's Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish (corner Picton Street and Parkhill Road). He served with the New Zealand Engineers (British Section) at Gallipoli. On his return to New Zealand in 1916, he founded the Returned Services Association (RSA) at a national meeting in Wellington. He was elected as the first president of the RSA. On return to active service he was also one of the founders and appointed Honorary Secretary of the Empire Services League.

Photo credits

Cover image

Anzac Day parade moving past Stockade Hill, 1954. Howick and Districts Historical Society Inc No.1275.

Thumbnail image

ANZAC Day, Lemuel Broomfield White beside the monument (as chairman of Howick Town Board), Stockade Hill. Howick Historic Village Collection, reg. no. 1288.


'Howick and Pakuranga First World War memorial', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-Jun-2014

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cnr Ridge Road and Picton Street, Howick
* Find sign at main entrance of reserve