Ruru Lawn Cemetery west of the War Graves section.

Ballantyne Memorial Rose GardenBallantyne Memorial Rose Garden pergola before the earthquakeBallantyne Memorial Rose Garden pergola after the earthquake
Semi-circular rose garden with a stone and timber pergola at the head. Each rose has a bronze marker with the name of a person who lost their life in the Ballantynes Fire of 1947.

The pergola, which has plaques depicting the victims' names, collapsed in the earthquake on February 22, 2011. The Council has plans to restore the memorial and hopes to have the work completed by the end of 2013.

Find the Ballantyne Memorial Rose Garden.(external link)

Ruru Lawn Cemetery.

About the fire

Ballantyne’s department store in Colombo Street was the scene of one of New Zealand's most disastrous fires late in the afternoon of 18 November 1947. A total of 41 people died and damage was put at half a million pounds. The fire was first discovered in the basement of the wooden building but the alarm was not given immediately. The actual time the alarm was received by the fire brigade was 3.46pm. Onlookers say that within 15 minutes of their first noticing the black smoke billowing from the building, it was past saving. Of three shop girls who jumped after being trapped on upper storeys of the three-storey building, one died and two were seriously injured.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry - which later sat for 65 days and heard 186 witnesses - criticised the firefighters for failure to take effective action in the first 10 minutes after their arrival because they did not recognise the potential danger.

The company's store, established in 1864, was one of the best known in New Zealand. The premises covered about an acre of ground. All those who died were members of the staff of about 300.