A bronze statue depicting a New Zealand soldier who died in battle will stand as tribute to all those who lost their lives in service of our country.

The statue was designed, created and delivered by Army Gunner Matt Gauldie and now sits at the entranceway to the Clubs Hastings.

Mr Gauldie has been the New Zealand Defence Force artist for 11 years, creating more than 100 pieces.

He said it took about six months to get from concept to creation.


Mr Gauldie wanted to keep the design generic to pay tribute to all those who have fought for New Zealand.

"The Hastings Returned Services Association asked me to submit a design no bigger than 2m for the entranceway."

He said along with the RSA, they decided it would be best to use a mounted trooper and not specific to a particular campaign.

"It's a tribute to all the sacrifices made by all New Zealand soldiers."

The horse is leaping into eternity which signifies the animal and soldier did not return home.

Horse-back bronze statues are traditionally used to pay tribute to heroes of war.

"You see them all over the world. The position of the horse tells the story.

"All fours on the ground portray survival, if one foot is off the ground the soldier was wounded, two legs off the ground mean the soldier died."

The statue was unveiled on Anzac Day by Sergeant Shaun Maloney and Clubs Hastings President Trevor Hardie.

A moving dawn parade was attended by thousands in Hastings as retired military dignitaries shared their touching stories before a blessing was conducted.

The RSA's padre Rev Warren Fortune blessed the new illuminated wall poppies and the bronze statue.

Mr Gauldie said it was special to see what had been in his workshop for months become "like taonga".

"Just about everybody that walked past it touched it and some left poppies. It was lovely to see."