Waikari is a sleepy hamlet off the main highway. One could say it is a 'one horse town' where the horse bolted many years ago. ANZAC day 2015 saw the situation reversed with the appearance of 100 horses!

The tale behind the ANZAC day (25/04/2015) 20km trek by 100 horses and riders to honour their Anzac war dead has galvanised rural communities around Waikari, north Canterbury, even after the worst drought for 60 years.

On Anzac Day, a spectacular remembrance called '100 Years, 100 Horses', will see 100 riders in formation - dressed in replica gear from World War I. They will pay tribute, not just to the fallen, but to the community spirit behind the Canterbury Mounted Rifles.

The story of the Rifles, part of the New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade (Canterbury Mounted Rifles) which left Lyttelton in 1914 for the conflict in Turkey with just under 2000 men and over 2000 horses. The north Canterbury townships of the Hurunui district - Waikari, Hurunui, Mason Flats, Peaks and Hawarden - provided 187 of the riders, 42 of whom did not return. No horse returned.

The 100 horses started out from a dawn service at the site of a local fallen soldier, Thomas Crean, at the Peaks hall and then the 100 'soldiers' rode in formation towards Hawarden and then complete the 20km to Waikari, where the annual Anzac service was held. Forty two crosses were then placeded at the cenotaph to commemorate the fallen. Section in italics based on news item from the New Zealand herald, BUT with a lot of editing!

Head of horse parade Waikari 2015 Actual Canterbury MR riding to Lyttleton port for embarkation to Egypt 2014
Section of commemorative horse contingent
Main ceremony for horses
Note Maori chap has his Taiaha (fighting staff) slung over shoulders rather than customary 303 rifle. Also note the two riders with feathers in their hats. These are 2 of the 3 people representing the Australian Light Horse. NZ and Australian forces combined in the Middle East as the ANZACs.
Every small town in New Zealand and Australia has its war memorial following WW1 and sadly added to after WW2. The actual ANZAC service had a ceremonial placing of a cross for each of the local fallen.
In addition to the actual memorial most small towns built, or renamed their local halls as 'War Memorial Halls'. Within such halls would be the 'Honour Board' listing all those that had served from the region with annotations for those that had fallen, or died of wounds. Waikari Hall was home to the static display oragnised by the NZ military history group. The above table displays souvenirs brought back by locals from Waikari and still remaining with the descendents.
These displays came from the private collections of the people shown. These items are all genuine and in pristine condition considering the age. Of interest is the battledress top worn by the person on the right. This was his grandfathers jacket which was worn at the battle of Paschendale in Belgium. Very rare to see something in such good condition. Brent's (from Passport Travel) grandfather was also in the same battle.
Assorted static displays; Left-German Maxim machine gun. Top right- British Lewis machine gun - Brents grandfather was in a Lewis squad. Bottom right- WW1 nurse display.
Typical peaceful scene from Waikari and the Hurunui region of Nth Canterbury 

Video of final march in formation