"He thought of the Clydesdale horse and what it had done for the district. It became his dream to see something similar erected in Waimate and he came home from his tour planning to enlist support for the building of a statue in the town."
In 1965 an area of land between 20 and 24 acres (8.1 and 9.7 hectares) was donated to the Waimate Development Society by Mr J M Sutherland. It was suggested that a Lookout and Park on Mt John and the hill which overlooked Waimate would be a valuable community asset.
With the cooperation of land owner, Mr Jack Sutherland and the Waimate County Council, "Centrewood Park" with its panoramic views, north, south, east and west became a reality.
Mr Hayman put forward his suggestion, a Clydesdale statue could be placed at the lookout, however, it became obvious that to make the statue a size visible from a distance, the cost (an estimated $5,200) would be prohibitive.
Using his own words from notes he wrote at the time, Mr Hayman said, "….. I then came up with a plan of a silhouette, twice the size of a horse in a concrete slab on its edge. There was still doubt about the size being sufficient, time was still going on and no monument. I was given the idea of the Whitehorse of England, which I tried with wallpaper on the face of the hill". This was the start of action, the steep rocky face of the hill was too heartbreaking to smooth over. My next move was to the smooth valley close by, not so good for viewing, but where I could work myself. A load of plaster board scrap from the dump, laid in outline, proved the monument would be too small, but I was in business and ordered 200 paving stones."
Over the next 3 months, almost single handed but with assistance from wife Betty, he laid some 1,220 concrete slabs and with a 2 ½ ton head, precast in Mr Ron Hutt's yard. A dream was realised.
The final cost of $240 was met by donations from old farmers, teamsters and others who admired the Clydesdale horse.
On 19 October 1968 the then Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable B E Talboys, unveiled the cairn erected above the concrete horse at Centrewood Park. A plaque with a raised figure of a Clydesdale is set into the stonework of the cairn and commemorates the many draught horses which helped develop New Zealand.
The statue is:
- 60 feet high (18.29m)
- 48 feet long (14.63m)
- Head 16 feet (4.88m)
Set in 20 acres (8.09 ha) - 1300 feet above sea level (396.24m)
More information in the Te Waimate book:
Page 131 The role of the Horse
Page 263 Centerwood Park and Horse Statue