One hundred years have passed since the battle of Gallipoli, among the soldiers was Hamiltonian Horace Moore-Jones who now graces the main street of Hamilton in bronze form.
The five metre high, 200kg statue stands opposite what used to be the Hamilton Hotel where Sapper Moore-Jones eventually lost his life in a fire in 1922, while attempting to save others from the burning building.
Members of the public gathered on Victoria Street for the unveiling of the statue on Friday March 27, gifted by TOTI Trust (Theatre Of The Impossible Trust) from public fundraising, donations and sponsorship.
At 46, Sapper Moore-Jones was seen as too old to fight in World War I. Described as a "man of selflessness", he dyed his hair and shaved his moustache to appear younger and enlisted in the army.
Tava Tyrell, head girl for Hamilton Girls High School said, "No one wanted a 46-year-old soldier, Why would you do this [lie about age to enlist]? It showed he was a man of service." As a talented artist he was quickly became a mapmaker in the army and continued with artwork.
He is known for his Man and the Donkey painting depicting a 'donkey ambulance' scene from Gallipoli where a military medic transported a wounded soldier by donkey. What is thought to be the only remaining Man and the Donkey painting in private hands sold at auction recently for over $200,000.
Sapper Moore-Jones became a well-known Hamilton household name as the first Hamilton High School Art Master when he settled down in New Zealand on his return from the war.
The statue shows Moore-Jones sketching, as though at Gallipoli, kneeling on a seven tonne block of stone gifted and transported to Hamilton by the Turkish Government and the City of anakkale, and is near the Sapper Moore-Jones Place, formerly Marlborough Place, which was renamed after the 'unsung hero' in 2012.
Mayor Julie Hardaker said the city is thrilled to be receiving this outstanding gift, "This year is the 100 year commemorations of the landing of Gallipoli and it is particularly significant that Hamilton will now have an artwork that connects our city with those events 100 years ago and pays tribute to Sapper Moore-Jones whose artwork is known worldwide. I extend my thanks to TOTI and those who have contributed to enabling the city to receive this work of art."
The commemorative statue includes new technology, with a replica camera containing a computerised viewing lens and visuals of Gallipoli, Moore-Jones' works, and other historic references to enable the cross-media storytelling experience.
TOTI is a charitable trust focussing on integrated projects bringing together art, culture and the environment and with emphasis on collaboration, community engagement, education, and multimedia frameworks.