“This bronze sculpture was crafted by Mark Whyte of Christchurch in 1997.”
It stands outside the Hurunui District Council buildings in Amberley, North Canterbury, New Zealand. The statue was unveiled on 10 December 1997 by the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Hon. Jenny Shipley. The statue depicts Charles Upham ‘the observer’, using the skill he practised in peace and war learnt while shepherding and mustering on the hill and high country properties of Island Hills, Glynn Wye, St Helens and Rata Downs.
Accurate observation and his natural ability to understand the lie of the land served Charles Upham equally well whether mustering sheep or planning a military attack. Many other New Zealand soldiers had also learnt about living with the harsh environment of the high country but Captain Upham adapted this knowledge and coupled with his calculated determination, loyalty and sense of what was needed to be done, became an exceptional leader as well as friend of his men.
The sculptor has captured these feelings and the strength of Charles Upham in the eyes and face of the statue. The water bottle on his belt is a reminder of his compassion. Even when seriously wounded on Ruweisat Ridge, North Africa, he gave wounded German soldiers water from his own water bottle. The grenades were his main battle weapon used so effectively in the battle of Crete and again at the New Zealand Division’s break-out of encirclement at Minqar Qaim. Click on the following link to see a full-page article published in the Press Newspaper, in Christchurch on 23 November, 1994: Upham Newspaper Article.
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Charles Upham Statue
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