We stopped at the top of the Rimutaka Hill during our recent journey to the Wairarapa to investigate a new sculpture. There it was, standing proudly, cut out figures of soldiers silhouetted against the blue sky. This was made to commemorate the Rimutaka Marches of Kiwi soldiers going off to war during 1915-1918. Soldiers from the New Zealand Expeditionary Force departed from Wairarapa, marched over the Rimutaka Hill to Trentham Camp, with overnight stops at Kaitoke and Upper Hutt. 35,000 infantrymen undertook the journey, which took 3 days and 2 nights, most of them leaving from Featherston Military Training Camp. What a long slog it would have been. The soldiers went on to serve at the Western Front.
The Wairarapa Patriotic Society provided the soldiers with food and drink at the Rimutaka Summit. The Rimutaka March Re-enactment took place on Sunday 27th September, 2015, and it would have been very moving to see them marching past, in commemoration of those who did the journey a century ago. 250 marchers, many of whom were direct descendants of soldiers that trained at Featherston, took part. Also taking part was a group of cadets, Police and New Zealand Army personnel of which 30 wore replica WWI uniforms.
We climbed up the newly created walkway to the lookout at the top of the hill, and the views were outstanding.