Poppy Places

How it Works


Identify a place of significance


Assign the place to a community


The community writes the story


The story is shared on the website


The community marks the place

About the Places of Remembrance Project and the Poppy Places Trust

They went off to war and many tragically died, the nation mourned and slowly commemorated them in various ways. All over New Zealand we have remembered them through the naming of streets and buildings, by the planting of trees, and through erecting individual monuments.

The Poppy is the most powerful and easily recognised symbol of both courage and sacrifice that we have as New Zealanders.

The Places of Remembrance project is about ensuring we never forget. It is about a place where our hero’s contributions and their stories are linked to the physical via the simple placement of a poppy.

The genesis of the project is in knowing that many of our street names and places are directly related to people and events from overseas military history. And that this is often known to only a small and shrinking number of citizens.

By using the Poppy (an internationally known symbol) to mark these places, those that pass by will see the Poppy and be reminded every time of ANZAC.

The New Zealand Poppy Places Trust has been established to develop, promote, and oversee a nation-wide project to commemorate and recognise as part of the heritage of New Zealanders, the participation of New Zealand in military conflicts and military operational services overseas. The Places of Remembrance project will encourage all New Zealanders in local communities to:

  • Identify places in New Zealand which have a link to our military involvement in a conflict or operational service overseas
  • Research and record the history of these places on the poppyplaces.org.nz website
  • Link the physical with the recorded history, by joining the community in an organised remembrance ceremony to educate and to forever mark the place/monument with a poppy

In addition the Poppy Places Trust will:

  1. Generally promote the education and awareness of New Zealanders about our military history and heritage and the association with place names
  2. Work with local, regional, and central government, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, New Zealand Defence Force, heritage genealogy and other organisations or community groups to advance the objectives of the trust
  3. Establish and maintain a central repository of poppy Places as verified by the Trustees
  4. Share the research and records for the benefit of the community and the national heritage of New Zealand

Meet our Trustees

The Places

Gallipoli Rd sign

While many New Zealanders have learned of Gallipoli, the Somme, and Passchendaele, how many of us know the story behind place names such as Messines Road? Seddul Bahr Road? Marne Road? Or the many other places such as the surviving oak trees planted outside the Tomoana Freezing Works dedicated to the 24 staff that lost their lives in World War II.

Throughout New Zealand there are numerous places named after ordinary New Zealanders who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Places such as Nigel and Frickleton Streets, Selwyn Road, and many more.

The Poppy Places Trust believes there are perhaps 3000 places which if left to history may disappear from our collective consciousness. Our aim is to provide a "place" where these stories can be captured and forever stored. Each place will be marked with the placement of the official Poppy flower of the Returned Serviceman’s Association. The RSA has given the Trust the authority to use the poppy.

Just like our logo for poppyplaces.org.nz, a Poppy will appear on the Street sign to designate its significance and history while its individual story will be preserved on our website. The New Zealand Transport Agency has authorised the poppy to be placed on the street signs.

The Poppy may also be placed on memorials and plaques to denote their significance and also that the story be accessed from our website.

Creating Your Stories


You will first need to identify a place of significance then contact your local council.


The council will register with the Trust to confirm that your intended place meets the requirements to be on Poppy Places. This step also assigns the place to you, and gives you the responsibility to gain input from your community.


Writing the story may be done as part of a community effort. This could be a school or classroom project, a local community group, or even a family which wishes to remember their family’s involvement. From there the Trust will guide you as you research the background, involve the community, and determine what story and format you wish to use (e.g. video, audio, and text).

The intention is not to necessarily document a specific event as there may already be significant historical detail known. The idea behind Poppy Places is to record the story behind why a place has been named locally, and who or what it has been named after. For example Gallipoli Street in Leeston: how did Leeston choose this particular street to be named? When was the street named? Who from the community fought in Gallipoli? Are the original minutes from the council approving the name in existence and so on.

Read an example story


The council will return the finished story to the Trust for sharing on the web site.


Lastly when it’s all done we would encourage you to have a community event to mark the Place of the Poppy. Details of that event can then be added to your story.

Project Frequently Asked Questions

Any street that is to become a place of remembrance and display the poppy, must be proposed through your local council. Research will need to start with the council records for the history of street naming. Go to your council and see if they have a contact point for this project.
We do require good evidence of the reason for naming. Good sources can be local historians, the genealogical society, perhaps the RSA or newspaper records. Look at asking the question through the local newspapers and radio stations.
No, these events are commemorated in other ways. Poppy places refers to overseas service starting with the Boer War in South Africa.
No it's not. Council records are usually very brief and while the record may have been relevant and reasons quite clear 80 or 90 years ago, they are usually insufficient to explain to those looking at the reasons today to establish why the place of remembrance poppy applies, to understand what it was all about.
The length of a story is not important, however it should be sufficiently detailed to explain why a particular street was named in a particular location. It is important to identify any local personalities that are involved in the naming of a street. Look at the example story on the web site for ideas.
There are several online sites available through Goggle, you can visit your local library, ask the council for assistance or approach local organisations such as the Lions, Rotary or the RSA to make up the story.
The poppy is the property of the RSA and the New Zealand Poppy Places Trust is acting for the RSA in releasing the use of the poppy to places of remembrance. It has a very strong value to everyone. It is very important that the value is not degraded by being misused.
No, there can only be one symbol on a street sign and we support this agreement. The poppy is a symbol of national significance and we hope that where there are streets that are places of remembrance, that the town symbol will be replaced by the poppy. But, that is a matter for the council to agree to.
There is no restriction on the time taken after the event to naming a street. The council can agree now for good reasons to rename streets or to name new streets as places of remembrance.
Yes it can have a plaque. The owner must agree and accept that there is a duty of care for the poppy for the future. A story is still required and it will be recorded on our web site.
There are at least two options, the first is to rename the street to the old name and the second is the consider a poppy plaque at the road side where the original name was used.
Costs associated with the replacement signs are borne by the local council. While there should not be any costs associated with researching the story and interaction with the Poppy Places web site, if there are research costs then they are a council cost.
Yes, just contact the Poppy Places Trust and any additional information will be arranged for inclusion with the original story. This is particularly relevant for any information about the ceremony of the place.
Yes. Submit your application to the Trust via the website and confirmation will be given once the initial information is verified.
Of course it can be renamed. But that is a matter for your district hospital board to agree to. There is no reason why a memorial plaque with the poppy on cannot be placed in the main public area of the hospital.