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The granite plaque was unveiled by Waimakariri District Mayor, Dan Gordon and one of the organisers, Thereza Rosanowski, of Okuku, last Friday evening.
It features a war horse, a camel, a donkey, a dog and a pigeon and is inscribed with the words: “Dedicated to all the animals that served in wars and conflicts. They died for our country. We honour and thank them”.
Seven wreaths were laid, including one from the Rangiora RSA, the Rangiora RSA Women’s Section, the Rangiora Pony Club, NZ Service Animals and Memorials, NZ Veterinarians, the Waimakariri District Council and the Canterbury Regiment.
At the end of the ceremony Rangiora pigeon owner Tony Hyde, helped brother and sister, Juliana Carter, aged seven, and Kelekolio Carter, aged five, of Okuku, release 40 pigeons while their sister, Haylley sang the National Anthem.
It is believed honouring the war service of animals in this way is a first in New Zealand. A war horse, a donkey and a dog, plus Tony’s pigeons, were at the ceremony to represent them.
“It takes a community to organise something like this,” Thereza said.
- By Shelley Topp