Memories preserved in stone

Savage Memorial, Bastion Point, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2017

The human need to create monuments to remember our dead is a powerful one — from huge, world-renowned structures like the Taj Mahal, to row after row of identical crosses in war cemeteries across the world.

One of my favourite monuments is to Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand’s first Labour prime minister (1935-1940). The understated simplicity of both the obelisk and surrounding gardens are a fitting tribute to the man who was the architect of New Zealand’s once-great welfare state.

The headstone of John Chaafe may lack the scale of Michael Savage’s memorial, but is no less poignant. The 15 year old jockey was killed when his horse Gold Lac fell at the start of a race. In the midst of WWI, when young Kiwis were dying in their thousands in Europe, the loss of a boy too young to fight and engaged in a sport that brought pleasure to war-weary Kiwis, seems especially sad.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | monument

Regular random: five minutes with some lavender, a bee and the hope of new beginnings

Close up shot of bee on lavender stalk. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Lavender lunch. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Signs of spring are everywhere this week; from new growth on the fig tree to plum blossom and a huge increase in the number of bees around. This one was very busy enjoying lavender.

The images for this week’s Five Minutes of Random (the #RegularRandom challenge) were all shot at Savage Memorial Park on Bastion Point in Auckland.

Savage Memorial is the burial place and monument to Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister — and one of the country’s best loved leaders. He died in office in 1940, having led the government that established our country’s welfare state — now largely dismantled by successive neo-liberal governments.

Tomorrow there will be a general election in New Zealand. Growing inequality, increasing poverty, declining child health and the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world are all issues that have come to the fore in this campaign, and there is real hope that by tomorrow evening we may have a new government. One committed to the values of compassion and justice that informed Savage’s Labour government in the 1930s.

Spring is, after all, the season of hope.

Five Minutes of Random (the #RegularRandom challenge) is hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist. 

If you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post
  • have fun!