Some of the large mature trees which dot the New Zealand landscape were planted during the July 1919 Peace celebrations. Many communities chose to plant trees as memorials to peace and victory, recognising the end of World War I.
Trees were not only long-lasting memorials but required little fund-raising and could be planted on the days of commemoration.
Many schools commemorated the Peace celebrations by planting Peace trees, however the problem is that many schools have closed or relocated and trees that were not identified may have just blended into the landscape.
The Peace tree planted in the headmaster’s garden at Petone West School is an example. The school closed in 1983.
The tree survived until 2011 when, unfortunately, it was cut down during the construction of the Petone Countdown supermarket.
Local businesses took advantage of the opportunity to market their ‘peace’ products. Mr Waugh placed this advertisement in the Dominion newspaper every day during July.
At Eastbourne, a large number of trees were planted to commemorate peace.
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Petone Peace Celebrations in Lower Hutt.