PGF grant for Ventnor memorial

The plan to build a memorial to the SS Ventnor, and those who were lost when it sank off the Hokianga coast in 1902, has been granted $100,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund.

Originally planned for a site near Rāwene cemetery, the memorial will now be built at the new Manea Footprints of Kupe Centre in Opononi, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said when he announced the grant yesterday.

"It was thought all the remains were lost forever," Minister Jones said, "but in 2007 it was discovered that some bones had washed ashore. They were gathered up by Hokianga locals, including iwi members from Te Roroa and Te Rarawa, and buried near Te Roroa ancestral burial grounds and the Rāwene cemetery.

"The New Zealand Chinese Association then talked to the descendant families, and it was decided that a memorial would be built to honour the lost ancestors and to thank the people of Hokianga, especially Te Roroa and Te Rarawa."

Information panels at the memorial will commemorate those lost and outline the history of the event in English, Māori and Chinese languages.

The memorial will be a key feature of the Northland Regional Council's Wandering With Ancestors trail, a cornerstone project in Northland's Economic Action Plan.

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.