World War Two Hall of Memories

Auckland War Memorial Museum was originally built after World War One to commemorate Auckland's war dead. After World War Two, it was decided to expand the war memorial to honour all of Auckland province's fallen soldiers. The additions would include new Halls of Memory to remember the 11,671 men and women killed in the Second World War. 

The World War II Roll of Honour is listed on the walls of the Hall. It is engraved on marble and inlaid with bronze leaf. and only the dead of the Auckland province are commemorated. The permanent Scars on the Heart exhibition, which explore all the wars involving New Zealand, now link the two Halls of Memory.

Those killed in the Anglo-Boer Wars of 1899-1902, and in the New Zealand Wars of 1845-1872 (then known as the Māori or Land Wars) are also remembered in separate alcoves. The idea of including all our war dead had first been mooted in April 1930, but it was felt that there were already sufficient memorials to remember those men, and that to include them might dull the impact of a shrine dedicated to the Great War. But after the Second World War people were only too aware of the cyclical nature of war, and wanted one unified memorial for Auckland.

Amongst the Rolls of Honour in the Hall of Memory stands an empty panel of marble. It bears the simple yet heartrending inscription: "Let these panels never be filled".

The names of those killed in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War were not originally included in the Roll of Honour. This was because they were never officially members of the armed services, despite the fact they risked their lives ensuring food convoys reached Great Britain and our official armed forces serving overseas. Their names were added in 1996.

Rolls of Honour for the Korean, Vietnam and Malaya-Borneo campaigns were later added to the World War II Hall of Memory, so that no soldiers would be forgotten.

The altar in the World War II Hall depicts a victorious figure on top of a globe, representing the global theatre of war. Three stained glass windows behind the altar represent the insignia of those who fell in units not represented elsewhere, including the nurses, WAAFS, WAACs and WRNZNs. The women, elderly and children who remained at home are also included.

In the World War II Hall of Memory the ironwork supporting the Roll of Honour books are formed in the shape of poppies, reinforcing the symbolism used in the original brasswork. It re-emphasises the loss of a second generation of Auckland's youth.

The names of men and women of Auckland lost during the Second World War are recorded in the marble Hall of Memories. Panels commemorating New Zealand's loss in Korea, the Malaya-Borneo conflict and Vietnam, are also enshrined here.

Explore more

You may also be interested in these galleries.