mount does ‘Fabulous Job’ in tribute to hero
Dam Buster Squadron Leader Les Munro will certainly not be forgotten –as long as the Mount Maunganui’s new restaurant remains open.
The Munro Restaurant, which offi cially opened in early April, is a tribute to the World War 2 hero who spent his later years in the Tauranga/ Mount area.
A huge photo of a Lancaster bomber, identical to the one he piloted, plus several pieces of art, depict the life of John Leslie Munro.
Les’s son, Graeme, and grandson, Tom, were part of the offi cial opening ceremony in early April to celebrate the re-development and refurbishment.
Wall art, posters and information on The Dam Busters movie, which premiered in Wellington in 1955, are on display alongside a life-size glass fi gure of Les. The restaurant was renamed in his honour in 2014.
“This tribute is excellent,” says Graeme Munro. “It has taken a while to put together, but the Mount RSA has done a fabulous job. It has come up really well.
“My favourite thing is that it depicts all of Dad’s life – from his time on the farm through to his war service and his post-war years when he was in community service and representing people in the Waitomo/King Country area.
“Dad would have been very humbled by this. He wasn’t one looking for public attention, he would have been abashed by this type of display.”
Mount RSA Club Support Manager Peter Moss has fond memories of a “very staunch RSA man”, who he describes as an “absolute gentleman, a really super man”. In 2014 Les gave the RSA permission to use his name for the restaurant.
The following year the club received a donation from the daughter and son-in-law of the RSA’s Vice-President to put towards a full-size glass fi gure of Les.
“We had a bit of change left over, so we decided to add to the glass fi gure of Les and make it a full size tribute,” says Peter Moss.
The Lancaster in the photo is not the one fl own by Les – that no longer exists. This one is still fl ying in Australia, and Les’s 617 squadron number has been added to it.
The wall art depicts Les’s life from his days on the farm in Gisborne, his role with the Dam Busters, his mayoralty in the Waitomo district, his time on the Nelson RSA executive board and more.
Peter Moss says $8500 was spent on the wall art and thanks the adjuncts, sports/service clubs and individuals who contributed “to this fi tting tribute”.
“We wrote to them all, and they all donated. We hugely appreciate their generosity.”
The restaurant, which has an outdoor deck, is fully licensed and has cafe facilities.
It can seat up to 130. During the day, the offering ranges from bistro meals to light cabinet offerings; in the evening it’s a combination of buffet and an a-la-carte menu.