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Gearing up for an Anzac Day cuppa

The movers and shakers behind the legendary morning tea offered every year at the Tīnui Anzac commemorations have been revealed and shared the secrets of their success.

Margery Schofield, Shirley Schofield and about 10 other volunteers from the Tīnui community will be up before dawn tomorrow making sandwiches and setting up the hall ready to serve a delicious morning tea after the ceremony.

Hundreds of club sandwiches and savouries, along with plates brought by locals, will be set out on six huge tables in the Tīnui Hall on Anzac Day before the ceremony.

The Schofields, who are sisters-in-law, and other volunteers are all members of the Tīnui Womens’ Institute, which has been putting together the annual feast for about 10 years when they took over from the Lions Club.

“We get there at about seven in the morning,” Shirley said, while estimating she and Margery would be up from 5 am.

‘We go to the hall and make the sandwiches,” Margery said.

About three or four of the group would attend the 10.30am Anzac service, with the others staying behind for final preparations.

“When we get to the hall, we turn on the urns, and put on the ovens.”

There are eight urns, enough for hundreds of cups of tea and coffee, and washing dishes afterwards.

The sandwich-making runs like a well-oiled machine, with up to eight volunteers involved over about two hours.

“We set out the bread, and then when everybody arrives we sit around three tables. There’s so many buttering the bread, I’m making sandwiches with the cream cheese in, then they go down the assembly line and Marge then cuts them, cuts the crusts off and cuts them into club sandwiches,” Shirley said.

They have about 15 different fillings.

“There’s cream cheese with ginger, and with dates. And then we have another one with just cream cheese and cucumber. We have egg, cheese and onion, cheese and pineapple, tomato, lettuce, ham, and corned beef mixed with tomato sauce,” she said.

“While we’re doing that there’s another member in the kitchen sorting out the savouries.”

The food doesn’t last long.

“People are absolutely amazed. We’ve got six long tables, groaning with food and within 10 to 15 minutes of the service it’s all gone,” Margery said.

“Some people only come out for the food,” Shirley said, laughing.

The organisers finish cleaning up by mid-afternoon. They enjoy the annual event.

“There’s a feeling of satisfaction, and we are very proud of our area. Tīnui was the first to have the service,” Shirley said.

    The Tīnui Women’s Institute welcomes new members. They meet on the 1st Thursday of each month in the Tīnui Hall at 1pm.

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