From outside, the Army Museum at Waioru, New Zealand, is an unprepossessing grey block, on the edge of the wind-blasted Central Plateau of the North Island.

Waioru is an Army town, through and through, and the only reason to do more than pass through, if you aren't a member of the forces, is the museum.

Inside, you find much what you would expect - exhibits on the various wars the New Zealand Army has served in, arms and armaments, medals, memorials to particular heroes like dual VC winner Charles Upham. It's an interesting, but not especially outstanding place to visit.

Except for one thing.

On the mezzanine floor, between the cafe and gift shop at the bottom and the museum proper at the top of the stairs is the Wall of Tears.

It isn't large, or dramatic. It's just a wall faced with greenstone (jade), over which water runs constantly.

There is a plinth there, with a computer, where the names of the New Zealand dead, from all the wars since the European nation was established here are listed. And, not particularly loudly, there is a tape, of two voices, one male and one female, reading out those names. You can skip to any name in 'the book' and the litany will start anew from that name. Alternatively you can just sit a while, in one of the comfortable chairs they provide, and listen.

I'm not a New Zealander, and I have never lost anyone I love - or even know - to any war. I didn't expect to find it more than 'interesting'. But somehow the restraint, and the quiet dignity, of the memorial managed to move me to the extent of tears; something that isn't easy to do, and something that took me completely by surprise.

If you are in Waioru, stop at the museum, and most importantly, once inside, don't just pass the Wall of Tears by. Spend a few minutes there looking and listening and give it the time and respect it deserves.

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