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    Featherston Camp Sculpture

    Connecting our nation with its history via public art

    A ‘sneak peek’ from the Dibble Studio…

    Swipe or click-and-drag to see other images

    Remember Them

    We are seeking to remember the 60,000 men who, in World War 1, went through Featherston Military Training Camp, New Zealand’s largest-ever military camp, by gifting a national commemorative sculpture to be installed in the town of Featherston. We also want to highlight the significance of the Camp in local and national history. Featherston Military Training Camp was built by the Public Works Department in 1915 following the outbreak of the First World War. Situated near the small town of Featherston, gateway to the Wairarapa, it was opened on 24 January 1916. The Camp depended on Featherston and its residents for essential supply and support services.

    • Over 60,000 soldiers went through the Camp before going to the Western Front and Palestine.
    • Nearly two-thirds of the 103,000 New Zealand servicemen who served overseas in World War 1 went through the Camp.
    • The Camp had its own Post Office, railway link, hospital, bakery, butchery, kitchen messes, shops, clubs and places of worship.
    • The local community provided funds to build the celebrated ANZAC Club in Featherston, and the YMCA ‘Soldiers Club’ on the south side of the camp.
    • On completion of basic training, each intake of troops marched over the Remutaka Hill to Wellington.
    • Women from the Wairarapa met each march at the Remutaka summit with cups of tea and a meal.

    Make a donation

    You can make a donation using the Internet Banking using PoliPay. Your account must be with one of the major New Zealand Banks that PoliPay supports.

    Learn more about POLi

    If you wish to talk to a member of the Trust, about bequests or donations in general, email

    Amount you will be paying ($NZ):
    Surname or company name:
    First name:
    Email address:

    Town & Camp

    The area known to local iwi as Paetumokai in the Wairarapa first sprouted a settler’s homestead in around 1847 and was originally known as Burlings. Five decades later the burgeoning township of Featherston had around 700 inhabitants.

    A watershed moment in the town’s history came with the establishment of the military camp nearby in 1916. The effect that the Camp had on the town was indelible. The population of the area ballooned fivefold and much of the industry in the township and its civic life revolved around its relationship with the Camp.

    Today, Featherston is twinned with the small town of Messines in Belgium, site of a significant battle during World War I where many of the recruits who trained at Featherston fought and perished.

    Are you a descendant?

    You might have had a grandparent who trained or worked at the Camp, or belonged to a family that was associated with Featherston during that era. We’re rounding up as many personal stories from those days as we can. If you are descended from someone, we’d really appreciate it if you’d drop us a line!

    Collage of archive images of the Camp (Courtesy of Wairarapa Archives)

    Stories of those that were there back then

    A collection of tales about the recruits, camp staff and townsfolk of the day. We’re on a mission to gather up as many of these stories as we can. Could you provide us with any?

    Who’s behind the project?

    When the original idea was first floated, a handful of local history enthusiasts took up the challenge; however, the number of supporters has swelled such that it would be no exaggeration to claim that the whole community has moved in behind the project. A number of local, regional and national organisations have come to the party too, and we are getting very close to seeing the project come to fruition.

    Words of Support

    It is an exciting project and gives due recognition and acknowledgement to our history. I look forward to attending the unveilling at the Armistice Day commemorations in November 2018.

    Lyn Patterson
    Lyn Patterson, Mayor of Masterton District

    This work will emphasise the international, national and local significance of the Camp while being cognisant of younger generations and a hopeful future. We wish you every success. Heoi anu naku.

    Paora Ammunson
    Paora Ammunson, Kaumatua, Papawai Marae Trust

    It is especially important, as our country marks the centenary of the First World War, that we appropriately remember Featherston Military Camp and all who passed through it between 1916 and 1919.

    Chris Finlayson
    Chris Finlayson, Former Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage

    It remains an important national historic site, and an appropriate memorial in Featherston to the place and the men, would remind us of the camp and Featherston’s link.

    Neil Frances
    Neil Frances, Co-convenor WW100 Wairarapa

    Your proposal has great significance to Featherston as the Camp was the hub, home and training ground from many thousands of soldiers destined for the battles on the Western Front.

    Dick Smith
    Dick Smith, President of the Featherston RSA

    Featherston Military Camp is certainly a place of national and international importance – as well as a place of special significance in the South Wairarapa.

    Maggie Barry
    Maggie Barry, Former Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage

    This is an important project fully deserving of support as part of New Zealand’s commemoration of the centenary of the First World War.

    Professor Glyn Harper QSM
    Professor Glyn Harper QSM, Massey University

    We are confident that a fitting and stunning public design work will complement the new site, signal clearly Featherston’s connections with its military heritage and further lift South Wairarapa’s profile of art, culture and history.

    Mena Antonio
    Mena Antonio, Regional co-ordinator

    Paul Dibble is an internationally recognised sculptor. We feel that a work of this calibre would add significantly to the redevelopment of Featherston’s civic square.

    Anna Jackson
    Anna Jackson, Manager, Gow Langsford Gallery

    The training camp is not just of regional and national significance – but of international significance as well!

    Phillip Dittmer
    Phillip Dittmer, Featherston Heritage Complex Society

    We offer you our unqualified support in your endeavours to promote a memorial to the Military Camp which was based in Featherston from 1916 onwards.

    Solitaire Robertson
    Solitaire Robertson, ANZAC Club Society

    SWDC believe the proposed sculpture will be a huge draw card for Featherston. Not only will it be a poignant reminder of the town’s history but it will serve as a key focal point in the town square. We fully support the project and urge everyone to help make this dream a reality.

    Adrienne Staples
    Adrienne Staples, Mayor, South Wairarapa District

    Supporting Organisations

    South Wairarapa District Council
    Featherston Community Board
    The Lion Foundation
    Prof Glyn Harper
    Rotary South Wairarapa
    Ant North Chef
    C'est Cheese
    Lamb-Peters Print
    Featherston Lioness Club
    Coq Au Vin
    Wairarapa Times Age
    Acorn Trust Logo
    Wairarapa Archive
    Toi Wairarapa
    Masterton District Council
    Gow Langsford Gallery
    Featherston Baker
    Mr Featherston's Den
    Pete Monk Photography
    Wakelin House
    NZ Returned Services Association
    WW100 New Zealand
    Trust House
    Anzac Club Society Inc.
    Laughting Owl Fudge
    Messines Bar and Restaurant
    Rimutaka Shuttles
    Bottle-O Featherston
    Greytown Lions Club
    Pinehaven Orchards

    Thanks to Our Generous Donors

    Bernard Jervis, Ross Vickery & Kate Mead, Peter & Mary Biggs, Jean & John McDowall, Peter & Barbara Jackson, Chris & David Kernohan, Lesley & Ralph Wardle, Adrienne Staples, Fraser & Margaret Donald,  Gordon Berryman, Adele & Neil Frances, Julie Riddell, Jean Archer, Featherston Senior Citizens Social Club, Tina & Dougal Tylee, Henderson RSA, Takapau RSA

    Nigel Allardyce, Noeline Arnott, Anne Atkinson, C Batista, Bella Villa Bed & Breakfast, Romain Busby, Lee Carter, Frank Cody, Brendan Coneglan, Anna Coneglan, Anne Conroy, The Coory Family, Bruce & Margaret Craig, Joan Dickens, Penelope Dunkley, Margaret Dunton, Julie Elstone, Maggie Flynn, Gus Evans, David Flynn-Coutts, D S Forbes, Dayle Harwood, John Hodder, C J Holley & C K Miller, Sarah Hutchings, Anne Hynds & Derek McCluskie, John Jamieson, T & M E Jane, C Levien, Susan McDonald, Joy McDowall, Diane MacKenzie, Ken Mckenzie, Messines Books, Enid Meyer, Marshall Owens, Ken & Maria Pasco, the Randle Family, Jennifer Reichenbach-Sisk, Kate Ricketts, Yvonne Riddiford, Erica Tenquist, Jo White, Debra Whitehouse

    …as well as our many anonymous donors!

    Our Objectives

    Connect Featherston with a part of its history that has largely been forgotten

    Emphasise the historical significance of the Camp nationally & internationally

    Enhance the townscape and draw visitors from around New Zealand & overseas

    Latest News

    The Latest from the Dibble Workshop

    April 15, 2018
    A few more snapshots from the Dibble Workshop…

    Sculpture Taking Shape

    September 24, 2017
    With 90% of the funding required now raised, the Featherston Camp Sculpture is under way. The crew at the Dibble workshop are hard at it making the moulds ready for the bronze pours. Thanks to all who have contributed ideas for the backs of the columns. Definite themes are emerging, and these are being considered for inclusion by the sculptor . We still require a small amount of funding to complete the project, and will continue to approach grant funding bodies. Remember, every little bit counts so spread the word (and the website address) far and wide!

    Sculpture Soon to Be Commissioned!!

    May 29, 2017
    We’ve made it! With recent funding grants from Trust House, Lion Foundation and the Lottery Grants Board, we are now in a position to go ahead and commission the sculpture. Public consultation for ideas for the bas reliefs on the back of the columns will now go into full swing. Please add your ideas by emailing or placing a comment on Facebook. We look forward to receiving some unique, inspiring and interesting ideas. The Featherston Camp Sculpture trustees extend their heartfelt thanks to all funders, supporters and volunteers who have made commissioning the sculpture possible. We especially thank the people of Featherston for the fantastic community support provided, including a generous donation from the Featherston Senior Citizens Social Club.

    Sculpture fundraising reaches $200,000!!!

    April 18, 2017
    THANK YOU!!! A heartfelt thanks to all our supporters – fundraising for the Featherston Camp Sculpture has reached $200,000. The Trust is particularly grateful to the Lion Foundation and Trust House Foundation for their ongoing support. Along with the generosity of individual supporters and other funding organisations, recent grants from Lion Foundation and Trust House Foundation of $20,000 and $30,000 respectively have given us the financial boost we needed to approach the Lottery Grants Board for a substantial grant. We will be informed of the outcome of this application in May.

    Race is on for Sculpture Fundraiser

    February 2, 2017
    The campaign to raise funds for the nationally significant memorial to those who passed through the Featherston Military Training Camp in World War One is tantalisingly close to its target amount. “We’ve raised close to $140,000 – which is a fantastic achievement,” says Featherston Camp Sculpture Trust secretary, Jean McDowall. “However, to approach the Lottery Grants Board Environment and Heritage Fund we need to raise significant funds ourselves, and we are doing a big push for the grant round closing in February. So, the Trust is calling on supporters to dig even deeper to help us raise the remaining money – and we’re asking the whole nation to donate generously to this national monument.” Chances are you know of someone who served in World War 1 and there is a good chance you know where they served. Chances are you also have connections to someone who died in that conflict and there is a good chance they were trained at Featherston Military Training Camp. Remembering their lives will be enhanced by this taonga to be erected in Featherston.   Make a donation You can make a donation using the Internet Banking using PoliPay. Your account must be with one of the major New Zealand Banks that PoliPay supports. Learn more about POLi   Amount you will be paying ($NZ): Surname or company name: First name: Email address:   If you wish to talk to a member of the Trust, about bequests or donations in general, email