Statue marks 100 years since WWI

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - BLAN­TON SMITH

The man be­hind a lone sol­dier statue to be un­veiled on New Ply­mouth’s coast next year hopes its pres­ence will make peo­ple think more about World War I.

Ac­com­plished New Ply­mouth sculp­tor, and for­mer sur­geon, Fridtjof Han­son, is in the mid­dle of mod­el­ling the life-size bronze trooper who will be wear­ing the Taranaki Reg­i­men­tal uni­form.

The New Ply­mouth Re­turned and Ser­vices’ As­so­ci­a­tion (RSA) com­mis­sioned the statue, which was part funded by a New Ply­mouth Dis­trict Coun­cil com­mu­nity ser­vices and pro­grammes grant of $15,000.

It will take up a per­ma­nent post near the Ital­ian made Pack How­itzer across from the Ceno­taph on Regina Pl in New Ply­mouth and be un­veiled on No­vem­ber 11, 2018 at 11am - 100 years to the ex­act time the war came to an end.

‘‘I want this chap to look pen­sive – to be more than just a sol­dier,’’ Han­son said. ’’I re­ally be­lieve peo­ple should think more about the First World War.

‘‘The war was an un­usu­ally trau­matic episode and 100 years on we’re still talk­ing about send­ing young men and women into con­flict, so I want to show that we re­ally should think more deeply about it.’’

Han­son, 76, has de­lib­er­ately made him look young and deep in thought as he stands with arms re­versed (ri­fle pointed down), gaz­ing across the Tas­man to our An­zac neigh­bour. His post will over­look the site of the for­mer New Ply­mouth rail­way sta­tion where many young men and women de­parted Taranaki for for­eign bat­tle­fields.

Han­son, who was be­hind the re­gion’s Pe­ter Snell, Fred­eric Car­ring­ton and Lieu­tenant Colonel Wil­liam Malone stat­ues, said the sol­dier would be mounted close to ground level so peo­ple could see his fea­tures close up..

New Ply­mouth RSA pres­i­dent Graeme Lowe said the statue and com­mem­o­ra­tion would sa­lute the whole of the Taranaki re­gion.

‘‘We’re hop­ing to have bells ring­ing and a pa­rade to mark the cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice at 11am on 11 No­vem­ber, with RSAs and peo­ple from around the re­gion at­tend­ing,’’ Lowe said.

Bryan Ben­ton, who chaired the New Ply­mouth RSA com­mit­tee on the statue, said the lo­ca­tion was ideal be­cause it em­bod­ied the An­zac bond.

‘‘A sol­dier of that pe­riod in the Taranaki Reg­i­men­tal uni­form with arms re­versed is per­fect for that site and that oc­ca­sion.

ANDY JACK­SON/ STUFF

Fridtjof Han­son works away on his lat­est sculp­ture.

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