Woodville will host its the first Purple Poppy Day service to honour the animals that have served and been killed in war.
The service recognises the role played by animals during international conflicts and the roles they continue to fill today.
The service is being led by Holy Trinity Anglican Church with support from Woodville Districts' Vision and Woodville RSA.
Woodville Districts' Vision chairwoman Vicky Tomlinson says she is passionate about honouring war animals, partly through the strong historical links Woodville has with horses through the racing industry and, on a personal level, the Clydesdales her grandfather owned.
She believed it was the first Purple Poppy Day for Tararua.
In 2018 the War Animal Memorial was unveiled at the National Army Museum in Waiouru and February 24 was designated Purple Poppy Day to remember and honour all animals that have served and been killed in war.
The Waiouru memorial is just one of several such animal memorials around the world.
The London memorial bears the inscription: "Many and various animals were employed to support British and Allied Forces in wars and campaigns over the centuries and, as a result, millions died. From the pigeon to the elephant, they all played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom. Their contribution must never be forgotten."
Tomlinson said that in World War I alone 8 million donkeys and horses died.
The most famous New Zealand war horse was a black thoroughbred named Bess, who served throughout World War I with Captain Charles Guy Powles of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
After service in Egypt, Sinai, Palestine and France, Bess was one of only four horses to be shipped back to New Zealand after the war.
When she died in 1934 Captain Powles erected a memorial to her at Flock House, near Bulls.
Along with almost 4000 other horses sent with the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in October 1914, Bess had endured cramped conditions during the six-week voyage to Egypt.
She then survived extreme heat, burning sand, cold nights, ticks, fleas and biting flies in the Middle East, wet and cold on the Western Front, and shortages of food and water.
But it wasn't just donkeys and horses that served, Tomlinson said.
"Goldfish were used during World War I to test whether all signs of mustard gas had been removed from gas masks after they had been cleaned. Goldfish were placed into the masks. If the fish died the masks had to be cleaned again."
Tomlinson said by holding the first year Purple Poppy Day in Tararua she hoped people would become familiar with it and that it would become an annual commemoration in Woodville, just as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day were.
"I also hope by holding Purple Poppy Day it will raise awareness of the Purple Poppy Foundation."
Tomlinson recounted the story of a New Zealand soldier who was shot while serving in Afghanistan.
"Apart from his serious injury he also suffered post traumatic stress disorder, so the association provided him with a dog that helped to calm him and helped in his recovery."
The service will take place on Wednesday at 11am in Fountaine Square and everyone is invited.