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    It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Paul Dibble (1943-2023),
    the talented artist of Featherston Stand – He Tino Mamao.
    We wish to express our deepest condolences to his family.


    Featherston Stand – He Tino Mamao

    Connecting our nation with its history via public art

    The Dedication & Gifting Ceremony

    Remember Them

    We seek 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 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.

    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 swelled such that it would be no exaggeration to claim that the whole community moved in behind the project. A number of local, regional and national organisations came to the party too. Our collective efforts have seen the project come to spectacular 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
    Fernside - John Hodder - Accommodation
    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 Gow, 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

    Programme for Armistice Centenary has been launched

    October 23, 2018
    In association with the Featherston Commemorates organising committee, a 12-page booklet has been published with details of all the events happening next month in-and-around Featherston as part of the Armistice Centenary 2018. There will be month-long special exhibitions in the town’s museums, historical site bus and cemetery tours, a documentary screening, Book-related events, an Armistice Day Service… and of course, the Dedication, Naming and Gifting of the Featherston Camp Sculpture on Saturday 10th November. Link to the PDF: Armistice Day 2018 Featherston – Programme of Events

    It’s All Go!

    September 3, 2018
    On Friday 24 August The Rt Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand ‘turned the first sod’ on the sculpture site. Work begins in earnest on Monday 3 September to build the foundations the sculpture will be placed on. Thanks to two final grants from One Foundation (formerly First Sovereign) and the Lion Foundation the Trust reached its target of just over $600,000 raised for the sculpture. Installation is now beginning and the dedication ceremony will be held on 10 November as part of a suite of events being held to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. Thanks to all our supporters – it’s been a tough but rewarding journey and the end result will be a truly magnificent asset to Featherston and New Zealand.

    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 molds 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!