Waimate artist Bill Scott has always felt a deep connection with war.
His grandfather fought at Gallipoli, he had great-uncles killed in World War 1 and his father was injured in the Korean War.
When Waimate Town and Country Club manager Marie van Kleef asked Mr Scott to create a mural to remember New Zealand’s fallen soldiers, it was a full-circle moment.
Ms van Kleef and Mr Scott put their heads together, deciding what the mural should feature, and Mr Scott created sketches of what could work on the 35m-wide wall.
The finished product depicted a line of soldiers’ silhouettes, with a yellow and orange sky behind them, walking towards a field of poppies, with the New Zealand and Australian flags fluttering to give the artwork movement.
“It’s that brotherhood that we had with the Aussies,” Mr Scott said.
One end of the mural has an image of a man, standing with his head bowed, as Mr Scott imagined him listening to The Last Post.
The mural took about 10 days to complete, and while the “canvas” was challenging, it was part of the fun of it, he said.
Mr Scott, who has painted about eight murals in Waimate, said war had become an “intrical part of life” without realising.
His father, Donald James Scott, who died last year age 95, did not speak about his experiences until later in life, and most veterans were similar.
“It was something they typically hold quite close to their chest, just the horror of it, and we see it now with Ukraine, and it just intrigues me. I’m horrified that it’s happening again.
“That’s the meaning of [the mural], and just the harsh reality of life and death, and all those emotions a thing like that [war] stirs up in your mind – it’s every emotion you can imagine really, that’s my connection.”
Ms van Kleef was inspired by a mural she saw in Rangiora last year, and thought something similar would fit Waimate perfectly. It also represented the amalgamation between the Waimate Town and Country Club and Waimate RSA. She was thrilled with the final product.
Waimate RSA president Rob Boswell said he was “very, very pleased” with the mural.
“The members of the RSA here in Waimate are very humbled it’s gone ahead,” Mr Boswell said.
Mr Scott had painted it “from his heart” and Mr Boswell said it added something extra to the town.