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Sat 14 Feb 2015, 7:00pm–9:00pm
Sun 15 Feb 2015, 11:00am–9:00pm

Where: Birch Hill Station, 1423 Birch Hill Road, Okuku, Oxford, Waimakariri

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Birch Hill Station WW1 Guest Speaker night: $15.00
  • Additional fees may apply

In February 2015, a small group of North Canterbury locals have a guest speaker evening and memorial ride to mark the 100th anniversary of New Zealand military horses that served in WW1. We are passionate about horses and history.

In 1937 Lt Col EB Millton of Birch Hill Station (near Mt Thomas) commissioned a large stone monument for the Station's cemetery with plaques - one dedicated to the 10 men who left the farm to serve in WW1 and the other plaque has the wording 'In Memory of the horses of the 8th Regiment NZMR that died in the Great War 1914-1918'. The Birch Hill Cemetery was first established for the Millton family and those who were involved with the Station but is now public and run by the local council.

10,000 horses left NZ to serve in WW1 (the Great War) and only 4 returned - Bess, Beauty, Nigger and Dolly. The others were killed in the war, left to the Egyptians or joined the British Army.

The Saturday evening is at Ashgrove Primary School in Rangiora where you can hear:
- Paul Sanderson presenting his WW1 horse documentary 'All the King's Horses';
- Derrick Millton will give a history on Birch Hill Station and the legacy of his great great uncle - Col EB Millton;
- Gordon Alexander (President of Cust RSA) will address the audience;
- Dr Carolyn Mincham (Author of 'The Horse in New Zealand: Attitude and Heart') will talk of her research between horse and man;
- Ange Reeves (local drama member) will perfor wartime songs;
- Sisters Hayley & Katalina Carter and Hanna & Emma Ferguson will sing the National Anthem;
- Mike Boyd (high country poet and author) will recite his dedicated poem.

On Sunday registrations open at 9am for the ride that starts at 11am. There are 2 routes. Experienced riders will go from Hayland, covering a 10km return trek over farmland and a water crossing. The 6km return trek from Okuku Country Estate is for lead rein riders, wagons and walkers. Both routes end up at Birch Hill Cemetery where at about 1pm there will be a short service to remember those that went to war.

Dogs and stallions are strictly prohibited from this event. Refreshments will be available at both events, so cash will be needed.

Speaker evening fees: $15 adults and free for under 16 year olds.
Memorial ride fees: $20 adult rider/wagon driver, $5 under 16 year old, $15 lead rein combo, $10 walker/wagon guests. Gold coin donation for public spectators not involved in the ride.

Online tickets for the guest speaker evening can be obtained from Dash ticketing. Our website and facebook (Birch Hill Memorial) have info and the registration form can be downloaded. Registrations can also be obtained from Don Clarke Canvas and Saddlery (Main Road, Woodend) and Rangiora Pharmacy (High Street, Rangiora).

For further info please look at our website and our facebook page (Birch Hill Memorial) - these sites also show maps of the area and camping details for those who wish to stay. Also you can email our Event Secretary, Sarah (

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