There are just some things that to my American eyes feel odd and this sign is one of them. It is posted on the entrance to the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower in Wanganui. That being said, there are a lot of reasons Wanganui is one of my favorite cities in New Zealand:
- My partner spent a lot of time there growing up and dislikes it. But my mother-in-law and much of my partner’s family lives in Wanganui so it kind of feels like my second home.
- Wanganui borders the Wanganui river. It’s an idyllic little town that reminds you of river-side towns in Europe.
- You have to love a town that spends so much time fighting over the letter ‘h’. Wanganui has apparently been renamed to Whanganui. There’s a long argument and discussion on the topic but I haven’t ever seen so much hubbub over a city name. The Maori pronounce ‘wh’ as ‘f’, so Whanganui should be pronounced like ‘fanganui’. Except that they decided not to do that and for some reason they opted to change the spelling but not pronunciation?
- Wanganui has an underground elevator built in the middle of a hill. It takes you up the hill and down the hill and is rated as the 2nd best attraction in Wanganui. It’s a pretty cool experience really. The elevator was built in 1919 and literally is in the middle of Durie Hill. You walk through a long white concrete-sided tunnel to get to the elevator which costs $2 to ride each way. There is an elevator operator to take you up and down.
- Durie Hill War Memorial Tower is at the top of the hill after you get off the elevator. The tower was built in 1925 to remember those who died in World War I. It’s an awesome building with 176 spiral steps you can climb to the top of the tower which gives you an amazing view of the town and the river that is its namesake.