Topic: South African War Memorial - Individual - Thomas Hempton, Okato

Topic type:

Thomas Hempton Memorial, Okato Cemetery, Okato

Hempton Memorial, Okato


Memory of

T.A. Hempton

Who died

On 4th April 1900

Whilst serving

The Empire in the

2nd N.Z. Contingent

During the war

With the

South African


(Unveiled 11 October 1900 - see Taranaki Herald 11 Oct 1900 in Documents below )



Thomas Hempton  grew up in New Plymouth but later farmed at Ōkato. He was consistently selected as a Taranaki rugby representative for nearly a decade between 1885 and 1894.

He enlisted in the 2nd Contingent to serve in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899, but died of disease in Vanwyks vley, South Africa in April 1900. Two other New Plymouth rugby players – Clement Wiggins and Charles Enderby – died in 1900, also while serving with the New Zealand contingents in South Africa

In September 1900 the members of the Star and Tukapa Rugby Clubs, New Plymouth, decided to erect a memorial to their three colleagues in the Recreation Grounds – now Pukekura Park. The proposal proved controversial and the rugby clubs appear to have withdrawn their support. Wiggins’ workmates from the Bank of New South Wales did, however, eventually erect a memorial in Pukekura Park, but it was later vandalised and removed.

The Ōkato community contributed to Thomas Hempton’s memorial in the local cemetery and his mother, Mary, in recognition of the action, gifted the land on which the public Hempton Hall now stands. His father, Thomas Snr,  was the New Plymouth Town Clerk from 1884-1897.



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South African War Memorial - Individual - Thomas Hempton, Okato

South African War Memorial - Individual - Thomas Hempton, Okato by Ron is Copyright Act 1994