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Big turnout likely for Anzac Day at Tinui

In a testament to the resilience of the small community hit hard last year by Cyclone Gabrielle, this year’s Anzac Day commemorations at Tinui are expected to attract more than 1000 people.

New Zealand’s first civic Anzac ceremony, commemorating the Australian and New Zealand troops landing at Gallipoli in 1915, was held in Tīnui on April 25, 1916.

Tinui Anzac Trust chair Alan Emerson told the Times-Age he is looking forward to the event, which he said is going to mark a ”return to the traditional Anzac Day at Tinui”.

“It’s an absolute credit to the wider Tinui community that we are up and running this year to the extent we are,” he said.

“The track to the cross at the top of the hill was absolutely munted by Cyclone Gabrielle last year.”

Over the past year, locals have worked hard to repair the track, which is now fully operational, and attendees will be encouraged to walk on it as part of the Anzac Day event.

“This year it will be all go,” Emerson said, including the event being addressed by former New Zealand governor-general Sir Jerry Mateparae.

A career soldier, Mateparae was also New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 2017 to 2020. He joined the NZ Army in 1972 and served with the NZ infantry and the Special Air Service in places including Lebanon, Bougainville, and East Timor. He has also served as chief of the army and chief of the defence force.

“Having Sir Jerry here is the icing on the cake,” Emerson said. “The community is honoured to have a person of his standing at Tinui.”

Last year, shortly after the cyclone ripped through the area, about 500 attended the annual event, which was followed by scaled-back refreshments.

This year, Emerson hopes attendance will return to pre-covid levels and exceed 1000.

“The Tinui Women’s Institute make a superb morning tea, which people travel miles for,” he noted.

Soldiers from Queen Alexandra’s mounted rifles are expected to organise the march, which will be led by the Whakaoriori air scouts.

Weather permitting a vintage aircraft fly-past will take place.

The Tinui Tavern will also be open on the day, having recently reopened after being extensively damaged by the floods during the cyclone.

Rev Steve Thomson is expected to officiate at the service, with Caryl Forrest as organist, Emily Wellbrock as soloist, and Zavier Boyles as the piper.

A statement from theTinui Anzac Trust said its members are looking forward to returning to the old days of Anzac at Tinui.

“It’s going to be a great occasion,” it said.

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