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Unknown Warrior

A guard of honour at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior during the 2017 Passchendaele centenary commemorations.  Credit: Photograph courtesy of  the New Zealand Defence Force.

A guard of honour at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior during the 2017 Passchendaele centenary commemorations. Credit: Photograph courtesy of the New Zealand Defence Force.

This page is to commemorate those New Zealanders who did not make the journey home after serving their country overseas. It also serves as a focus of remembrance for the sacrifice made by all New Zealand servicemen and women in times of war. 

It was created in collaboration with the Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage and represents a digital manifestation of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior that stands at Pukeahu, the National War Memorial in Wellington.

Please feel free to lay a poppy or leave a message of rememberance. You can also add notes into individual records of those personnel who served Aotearoa New Zealand in time of conflict by searching Online Cenotaph.


Te mamae nei a te pōuri nui
Tēnei ra e te tau
Aue hoki mai ra ki te kainga tūturu
E tatari atu nei ki a kou tou
Ngā tau roa
I ngaro atu ai te aroha
E ngau kino nei I ahau aue taukuri e

The great pain we feel
Is for you who were our future
Come back return home,
We have waited for you
Through the long years
You were away. Sorrow
Aches within me.

Leave a note

Contribute ›
  • Rest in Peace. King
    Public - Nicho - 21 June 2021
  • Thank you for your service. Lest we forget.

    Much respect, the son of a Malaysian Army veteran 🇳🇿🇲🇾
    Public - Irwan - 26 April 2021
  • Remebering my father James Henry Turner RNZN No13959, who served on HMNZS Black Prince, Hawea, and Rotoiti during Operation Grapple.
    Public - MaryBrigid - 25 April 2021
  • Thank you for your service to New Zealand - may we never forget your sacrifice.
    Public - Fiona - 24 April 2021
  • Hi my name is Ani and i am a grandchilid of Thomas shortcliffe even doe i didnt get to meet you i just wont you to no i love and miss you i hope i can meet you in heaven one day xox Ani my dad has told me alot about you i loved everyting about you miss and love you
    love Ani
    Public - ani - 13 March 2021

The Unknown Warrior

The Unknown Warrior died in France sometime between April 1916 and November 1918. We do not know the circumstances of his death; we only know that there was something that signified he was a New Zealander. He was buried at the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery on the Somme in northern France, a simple headstone read ‘A New Zealand soldier of the Great War known unto God.’  

He returned home to New Zealand on the 10th November 2004, on his arrival he was accorded a full military honour by the New Zealand Defence Force, before arriving at Parliament and Lying in State. A memorial service was held on Armistice Day, as his religion is unknown, representatives of multiple faiths offered prayers and together they offered the closing blessing.  At the conclusion of the service, the unknown warrior was carried through the streets of Wellington to his final resting place at the National War Memorial. He was placed in a specially designed tomb, shrouded in meaning; crosses represent the Warriors companions who died in service for their country who remain overseas, but are also symbolic of a star-laden sky, signifying the distance he has travelled. A karanga around the base of the tomb welcomes the warrior home.

Additional Information

Kingsley Baird the artist chosen for the design of the Unknown Warrior's tomb, he has written on the rhetoric of national identity and the Legacy of the Unknown Warrior for the Bulletin of the Auckland Museum. 

'The Past We Harvest That Was Yours': The Rhetoric of National Identity and the Legacy of the Unknown Warrior in New Zealand Memory. Kingsley Baird, Bulletin of the Auckland Museum, Volume 21 | 2020 

  • Last updated on: 9 Apr 2021 | File Size: 2 MB
Gareth Phipps, 'Bringing Our Boy Home' Journal of New Zealand Studies, no. 10. 

Gareth Phipps, 'Bringing Our Boy Home: The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, its visitors, and contemporary war remembrance in New Zealand' Masters Thesis, Victoria University.