Locals Making History Known
After purchasing the Culverden Hall last year in November, Waikuku local Jono Taylor was surprised to discover the historical significance behind the building.
The Culverden Hall we know today originated as the Amuri Drill Hall for the Amuri Mounted Rifles dating back to 1902.
Made up of local farmers within the district in the early 1900’s, the Amuri Mounted Rifles dedicated themselves to rigorous camps and training for war on horseback.
WWI led them to form part of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment. These men were then deployed to Egypt in 1914 with the Australian Mounted Regiments and other New Zealand Mounted Regiments to train themselves and their horses for battle. Much to their surprise, in 1915 they were ordered to fight in Gallipoli as infantry, leaving their horses behind.
For Jono, ANZAC day proved to be the perfect opportunity to inform the community about this important piece of history that had been lost throughout generations.
“I didn’t realise the history behind the Culverden Hall, the part that it played in the training of the Amuri Mounted Rifles, and what they achieved in WWI. I wanted to make it known.”
Determined to honour the history that began within the Hurunui District, Jono held a public unveiling of a storyboard at 6.30am on ANZAC morning at the Culverden Hall.
“I didn’t want the history to be lost to the area, and I thought that planning a dawn service and creating a storyboard was the best way to communicate this.”
The storyboard featured images and detailed accounts of the Amuri Mounted Rifle’s legacy in the hope to establish national and community pride. Unveiled by descendants of the Amuri Mounted Rifles, the board was then displayed outside the hall by the entrance of the Three Bored Housewives shop.
Present at the unveiling with five Amuri Mounted Rifles horses, riders, and the machine gun squadron, was Terry Kingi, who is heavily involved with various ANZAC commemorations within the district and beyond.
Before the service, Terry talked admirably about Jono’s efforts to make it all happen.
“It is a real credit to Jono and the community for this to be happening… It will be a unique experience for Culverden and a great chance for untold history to be discussed.”
Jono was stoked with the success of the service and was grateful to have locals including Colin Hyslop willing to be a part of it.
“About 70 people came along, it went really well with the horses present, and it was great to have local Colin Hyslop play the last post.”