Service celebrates WWI regiment

18:55, Aug 14 2014

The South Canterbury RSA's World War I commemorations this weekend will have a strong New Zealand Defence Force presence.

The date of the commemorations, August 16, marks 100 years since the 8th (South Canterbury) New Zealand Mounted Rifles Regiment (NZMR) departed Timaru showgrounds to go to Lyttelton to join the war efforts.

RSA general manager Michelle Brown said the commemorations would kick off at 2pm and take place at the Phar Lap Raceway with the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the NZMR.

The commemorations will also feature a march on by soldiers from the 2/4 Battalion out of Burnham and Dunedin.

"Timaru army and air force cadets will also be present, along with two horses with soldiers dressed in authentic NZMR uniforms," Brown said.

Timaru mayor Damon Odey will inspect the troops escorted by platoon commander Lieutenant Healey. Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew will attend.


Federated Farmer's president William Rolleston will be one of the key speakers at the event.

"He will talk about what the effects on the economy were, once the horses were conscripted. Their conscription marked the onset of cars, so it is a pretty important part of our history."

The public is invited to attend and everyone from the mayor to the MP will be dressed in period costume.

"We want the event to be a celebration rather than a sombre event," Brown said.

The Timaru Herald