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The funding comes from the Provincial Growth Fund and was announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones on Saturday.
It will be spent on maintenance of everything from stabilising loose elements on the Cenotaph in Dunedin to reroofing the Waiwera hall.
Towns on the list include Tarras, Arrowtown, Kaka Point, Waitahuna and many more — but there is no mention of any rural Southland towns.
War memorial specialist Ann Robbie, of Ryal Bush, said she helped the Southland District Council identify 18 war memorials in need of maintenance.
However, council staff member in charge of community buildings Mark Fraser said after making an initial application for funding, the council pulled out of the project.
"They came back with more requirements in terms of having quoted projects," Mr Fraser said.
"So we actually had to have the projects quoted and ready to go basically, and we had three days to get that information and we just didn’t have time to do it.
"The timeframe they imposed on us to get that information in to them was just basically ridiculous."
Ms Robbie also assisted the Invercargill City Council, which was granted $679,772 to be spent on seven of the 107 memorials and memorial gates in the city.