Ted d'Auvergne Sculpture Officially Unveiled
It was third time lucky for the official unveiling of the Ted d’Auvergne Sculpture, as more than 400 people gathered to commemorate the historic milestone on Saturday afternoon.
The life-size sculpture, which appears on a railway platform outside the Waihao Forks Hotel, has been a talking point with locals and visitors alike, with official proceedings successfully taking place after two COVID delays since June.
Following the unveiling of the sculpture, Waimate District Mayor Craig Rowley, who also chairs the Ted d’Auvergne Sculpture Project Fundraising Committee, addressed the crowd, with many of Ted’s descendants and special dignitaries looking on.
Distinguished speakers included Ted d’Auvergne’s family representative Alice Brice, Chief of Defence Intelligence Brigadier Hugh McAslan, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Tuatini, RSA National President BJ Clark, Canterbury RSA District President Stan Hansen, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.
Other notable attendees included resident Naval Officer Grant Finlayson, local military collectors Murray Dempster and Terry Farrell, Mayoress Lyn Stringer, Deputy Mayor Sharyn Cain, Waimate District Councillors, Council Chief Executive Stuart Duncan, sculptor Don Paterson, supporting businesses and sponsors and members of the Patriots Motorcycle Club Deep South and South Island chapters, among others.
In his address, Mayor Rowley thanked everyone who had been involved in supporting the project and pointed out the sculpture will likely feature in many tourist and visitor photo albums and on social media for years to come.
“It will certainly be a talking point in this community, and I’m sure many people will come out and share a beer with Ted,” Mayor Rowley said.
“I think Ted would have perhaps been quite amused to know that he has been immortalised on a railway seat outside his local . . . the very place where he had left from all those years ago.
“Ted’s story has enabled us to personally depict a memorial to tens of thousands of soldiers who left their farms, their families and communities and never returned home to carry on the family farm, or their family name.”
Adding to the event atmosphere, the children of Waihao Downs School performed poignant renditions of Hallelujah and E te Atua, with their voices ringing out on a day that will be remembered by many.
As the ceremony drew to a close, guests stood for a moving performance of The Last Post by Harvey Wood and a gun salute, before winding down the occasion with some fine country hospitality and refreshments.
Prior to the unveiling, the Waimate Pipe Band paraded the official party through to the seating area, with the Waimate Scouts on hand to raise the flag.
An additional $6,000 has been raised, with the Waimate District Charitable Foundation entrusted to administer and coordinate the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the district’s war memorials - including the man of the hour himself, Ted d’Auvergne.