What happens when an artist loves horses, photography, textiles and children's art?
Artist-designed flags will fly across six towns and at the ANZAC Memorial Bridge at Kaiparoro for the annual Service (2pm). The ANZAC Bridge Fellowship for 2020/2021 honours the horses that went to war. It was awarded to Esther Bunning, NZ Professional Photographer of the Year, and a portrait artist experienced in photographing people as well as the wild Kaimanawa horses in the central plateau.
For the ANZAC Bridge Fellowship project, Esther photographed the ANZAC Mounted Troopers – Les Chevaliers from Eketāhuna and Amuri Mounted Rifles Troop from the ANZAC Mounts Charitable Trust, Equine Rehab Unit, from North Canterbury – who rode in formation from Eketāhuna to the ANZAC Memorial Bridge on Armistice Day 2020. Esther also collaborated with the Mauriceville School community to create words and pictures for the flags.
At almost 2 metres long, the fabric banners elegantly reflect the movement and energy of the horses.
"The stories of the horses that went to war are timeless," Esther adds, "and I believe that we can always learn from these beautiful animals.
"It's a wonderful feeling to see this fellowship project come to fruition for ANZAC Day 2021. I'm so excited to see the flags fly across the region in honour of our mounted riflemen and the horses that went to war."
The flags will fly for the ANZAC Day Service at the ANZAC Memorial Bridge at Kaiparoro Mount Bruce, and across six towns: Eketāhuna, with support from Eketāhuna Mellemskov Museum; Masterton, with support from Masterton District Council; Carterton, with support from Carterton District Council; Greytown, with support from Greytown Community Board; Featherston, with support from Property Brokers Featherston; and Martinborough, with support from Martinborough Community Board.
Jean McCombie, chair of NZ Pacific Studio, says: "NZ Pacific Studio is proud to have awarded Esther Bunning the ANZAC Bridge Fellowship. The banners across Wairarapa are a poignant and visible display for all to see, and reflect on. We thank Trust House for their continued sponsorship, and the various councils, community boards, and our corporate sponsor, too – a true community togetherness in the name of art and peace."
The ANZAC Bridge Fellowship, shared by NZ Pacific Studio and Friends of ANZAC Bridge, began in 2006. Artists plan a public activity at the annual service, and over the years, the community has woven a harakeke cloak for the bridge; written postcards for soldiers; sung ballads; and learned about a memorial bridge in Brooweena, Australia, and about the women who ran the Aotea Convalescent Home for NZ soldiers in World War II Egypt.
Details for ANZAC Day, Sunday, April 25:
• All welcome to the ANZAC Day Service at 2pm at the ANZAC Memorial Bridge, Kaiparoro, Mt Bruce, SH2 - 10 banners designed by Esther Bunning will fly at the bridge.
• Parking at Miller Reserve, where there is a short walkway to the bridge.
• Drop-off for elderly/disabled only at the northern end of the bridge.
• Afternoon tea held after the service, at nearby Pukāha, $5 per person.