It was third time lucky for the official unveiling of the Ted d’Auvergne Sculpture.
More than 400 people gathered to commemorate the historic milestone, in Waimate, on Saturday afternoon.
After two delays due to Covid-19 impacts the life-size sculpture, which sits on a railway platform outside the Waihao Forks Hotel, was unveiled.
The ceremony began with the Waimate Pipe Band parading the official party to their seats, and Waimate Scouts raised the flag.
Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley, who is also the Ted d’Auvergne Sculpture Project fundraising committee chairman, addressed the crowd, including many of d’Auvergne’s descendants and sculptor Don Paterson.
He thanked those who supported the project and pointed out the sculpture would likely feature in many tourist and visitor photo albums, and on social media for years to come.
It would become a talking point in the community, and many people would come out and share a beer with d’Auvergne, he 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 had 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.”
The ceremony also included a performance from Waihao Downs School pupils who sang renditions of Hallelujah and E te Atua
As it drew to a close, guests stood for a performance of Last Post by Harvey Wood and a gun salute, before winding down with food and drinks.
An additional $6000 has been raised for ongoing maintenance of the district’s war memorials, which is administered by the Waimate District Charitable Foundation.