Dolly the Warhorse Trust

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The Dolly the War Horse Trust is fundraising to install a bronze life-sized replica of Dolly the war horse to be sculpted by Matt Gauldie, former NZ Defence Force official artist. Matt sculpted Hamilton’s statue of Te Utu, the only other recognition of the warhorses in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Dolly the war horse monument is to acknowledge that, after the 1918 armistice, only four of the 10,000 horses that left Aotearoa New Zealand during World War One returned home.

Major General Sir Andrew Russell’s mount Dolly was one of them. Dolly returned to Hawke’s Bay, to Tuna Nui Station at Sherenden, on the Hastings-Taihape Road, and the Trust wishes to reunite Dolly with her much decorated master, ‘The General’, to graze in perpetuity.

Hawke’s Bay’s own Major General Sir Andrew Russell was knighted for a distinguished command that included his planning of the amazingly successful overnight evacuation from Gallipoli. After that, he was recalled to the Western Front in France where it’s understood he and Dolly reunited. The sculpture of Dolly will be erected on a site designated by Hastings District Council in the vicinity of the statue of Major General Russell in Civic Square Hastings 

Dolly spent about three years on the Western Front culminating in the 1918 New Zealand Division’s last major action of the war, the capture of the French town of Le Quesnoy. The New Zealanders scaled the ancient walls with ladders and took the German troops prisoners. The liberation of Le Quesnoy was achieved without loss of civilian life or destruction of the ancient fortifications. It represents one of the high points of the war. The town’s residents have maintained close links with, and a high regard for, New Zealand ever since.

The Trust unveiled the bronze statue on 24 February 2024, which is Purple Poppy Day. This day commemorates the horses, dogs and pigeons that had to endure such horrible privations in adverse conditions

The Trust hopes this will provide opportunities for physically, mentally and socially disadvantaged children and young people living within the footprint of the Hastings District Council to participate in equestrian activities that will improve their wellbeing. 

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Dolly the War Horse Trust plans to unveil a bronze statue of a horse on the 24th of February 2026 (Purple... Read more