Captain Hamilton's statue given to city
Hamilton took its name in 1864 from Captain John Charles Fane Hamilton - the famous Naval Commander who led a detachment of the 43rd regiment over the pallisades at the Battle of Gate Pa.
In the words of a 19th century historian, "The gallant Hamilton sprang upon the embankment, waved his sword in the air, and shouted, ‘Follow me, men!' Scarcely had the words passed his lips when a bullet struck him in the head, his sword dropped from his hand, and he fell to rise no more."
But today, Captain Hamilton, after whom our fair city takes its European name -we are Kirikiriroa in Maori- stands tall in the form of a life-size bronze statue.
The statue was gifted to the city by the Gallagher Group, who commissioned the work to celebrate their 75th year in business.
The statue was produced by Margriet Windhausen, well known in Hamilton for her other famous work, The Farming Family.
Mayor Julie Hardaker said the Captain Hamilton statue was the first time Hamilton had representation of who the city was named after.
"I am looking forward to 2014 when Hamilton will celebrate the naming of Hamilton, when more of the stories of our Maori and European history are told, and this gift today is very much part of that story," she said.
Ms Hardaker thanked the Gallagher Group for their generosity and dedication to the city over many years.
The statue is just one of many celebrations that occurred at the weekend, one of which was an impressive fireworks display at Claudelands.
Gallagher national sales manager Peter Nation said Gallagher's 75th birthday was a significant milestone that should be celebrated appropriately.
"Reaching 75 years is a big achievement for any privately owned New Zealand company. We plan to make the most of it, and we'd like our customers to be a key part of these celebrations."