Hamilton's war horse statue will be presented to the city at Saturday's special Armistice Day service.

Major (Ret) Simon Marriott, president of the Waikato Mounted Rifles Regimental Association, Hamilton historian Richard Stowers, Dr Ngapare Hopa of Ngati Wairere and Noeline Jeffries, president of the Waikato Combined Equestrian Group and War Horse Board chair, will gift the statue and Mayor Andrew King will receive it on behalf of the city.

Former Defence Force artist Matt Gauldie created the 300kg life-size statue to honour the 8000 horses sent to the South Africa War and 10,000 sent to World War I. Only one horse returned from South Africa, and only four from World War I.

Read more: War Horse statue welcomed to the Waikato


Noeline Jeffries said the whole project was a dream come true. The statue is expected to quickly become a Waikato landmark and a national monument.

"I'm overwhelmed and truly grateful to everyone who has supported and assisted with this project. These noble creatures suffered along with our soldiers, hardships that we could never imagine and we owe it to them as a nation to remember their sacrifice," Ms Jeffries said.

Matt refers to the statue as the "big, awesome, bronze war horse" but said he sculptured the piece to show how heroic the animals were during the wars.

"I sculpted this war horse searching for his fallen rider. Moments earlier, it would have been charging through machine gun bullets at Beersheba," Mr Gauldie said.

"Sadly, many of these heroic animals would be destroyed just months after this famous cavalry charge, their purpose in the war over."

The battle of Beersheba was fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, a century ago, on 31 October, 1917. This was the biggest charge of World War I.

The public unveiling will follow this year's Armistice Day civic service, also to be held in Memorial Park. A march led by six Clydesdale horses pulling a one and a half tonne, World War I artillery gun, followed by three armoured army vehicles, the Waikato Mounted Rifles and eight War Horse March Riders will leave Brooklyn Road, Claudelands to ride to Memorial Drive to attend the official unveiling at Memorial Park.

Saturday, 11 November, Memorial Park

10.30am: Armistice Day Service
11am: One minute's silence.
11.15am: Unveiling of the War Horse statue.

Claudelands Events Centre

1pm to 4pm The Mane Event - a Celebration of the Horse.
* The entrance for the public is through Gate three on Brooklyn Road.
* No dogs allowed.
* Free entry - gold coin for wagon and pony rides.