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Committee members Susan Taipari, Cynthia Bates, and Dave Greenslade stand by the new memorial wall at Turua Hall. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Memory drives Turua memorial wall

A promise made in honour of a childhood friend has been fulfilled by the Turua Hall Domain and Community committee.
After five years, their memorial wall project – spearheaded by Susan Taipari – has come to fruition and now Turua locals have a place to be memorialised.
The inspiration for the wall, which had its grand unveiling late last month, was a man named Michael Stephens, who passed away from cancer in 2018, aged just 58.
“I first met Michael when we were eight-years-old,” Susan told The Profile. “Several months after he passed, [his wife] said to me: ‘I guess it’s time for me to start thinking about getting a plaque on the Ngatea wall… we don’t have one here’.
“So I said: ‘Okay, we will have one here. I’m going to get us a wall of our own’.”
Susan approached the then-Turua Hall committee and added the item to its agenda, and eventually, they secured funding from Hauraki District Council.
Straightline Brick and Block Laying donated the blocks, the mortar, and a day’s work to construct the wall, while Roger Brocklehurst and Richard Cox Contracting worked on the foundations. Cole Ehrhorn also helped out with the concrete block work.
Since its unveiling on September 23, Susan said she’s already obtained 12 paid-for plaques to be made. Michael’s will take pride of place on the wall, while Brian Wigmore’s plaque will sit above it.
Brian, also known as ‘Wiggy’, was a Turua Hall committee member who passed away unexpectedly after a short illness on September 20.
Hugh Fisher, affectionately called “the Mayor of Turua”, and his wife Bev – who also died in September – will have a plaque on the wall as well.
“To me, this is the most beautiful block wall I have ever seen,” Susan said. “If I could hug it all day every day, I probably would.”
Susan said the project really gained momentum after a new committee was formed – made up of herself, Dave Greenslade, Marina and Brian Wigmore, Jim Sutherland, Roger Brocklehurst, Paul Clayton, Cynthia Bates, and Stacey Frow.
She was proud of the group for “really driving it forward” for the town.
“About 12-18 months after I initially started to put this together, nothing was happening, and I went to Hugh and Bev Fisher and said: ‘I don’t think it’s going to happen’.
“Huey said to me: ‘Don’t give up, keep going. Promise me you’ll put that wall up in Turua’.
“I promised him there would be a wall in Turua… and now there is.”
DETAILS: To enquire about getting a plaque on the wall, email