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Reverence shown on Anzac Day

Thousands gathered around Wairarapa as a crisp Anzac Day dawned.

Residents, veterans, and dignitaries were among those who congregated at cenotaphs and memorials across the region yesterday, from Eketahuna to Lake Ferry.

Many rose in the dark to attend dawn services – a tradition in New Zealand since 1939 – paying respect not only to those who lost their lives in Gallipoli in WWI but to the men and women who have served the nation in the years since, and still do.

In Tinui, where the world’s first Anzac Day service was held, the mood was particularly poignant after the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Despite some concessions, traditions held fast for the village’s 107th service, with piper Zavier Boyles leading a procession of Wakaoriori Air Scouts, and a unit from the New Zealand Army Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles to the steps of Tinui School.

Wreaths were laid at the foot of Tinui’s memorial, which carries the names of local men who lost their lives in WWI, read out by students from Tinui and Whareama schools.

In his call to remembrance, Reverend Steve Thomson said Anzac was a time to honour those who had suffered and died as a result of war.

“We think of those in the community who dreaded the arrival of a telegram, who waited and prayed for the safe return of their sons.

“But many did not return home. They lie buried in foreign lands and their families and community grieved.”

He said the road was far from easy for those who did return from war, with many left mentally and physically scarred.

“On this day, we pause in silence, our hearts conscious of the debt we owe.”

Sadly, Thomson said, war was still a reality for many in the world – a statement highlighted in the prayers that followed, which included the people of Ukraine “forced into a pointless and destructive war”.

Addressing the crowd gathered, Brigadier Anne Campbell, said that on Anzac Day each year, New Zealanders across the world gathered for services.

“We especially remember those who gave their lives for our country, including people of small communities such as this.”

She said every generation had its own struggles, but those who fought in WWI had more than their fair share of misfortune.

“It’s more than a century since the first world war and 80 years since the second world war.

“The sacrifices made by New Zealanders will never be forgotten.”

Campbell said that for millennia, civilisations had recognised two kinds of death – one physical, and the other when “your name is spoken for the last time”.

“We, who gather here, should do all that we can to ensure that the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice are not forgotten.”

A minute’s silence and the raising of the New Zealand flag followed the last post, played by bugler Michael Chapman.

Tinui Anzac Trust Committee chair Alan Emerson said he was thrilled with the turnout at yesterday’s service.

“The support we have had has been nothing short of amazing,” he said, noting that in February, the nearby cafe was under a metre of silt.

While the track to the cross at the Tinui Taipo remains “munted” from the cyclone, there was a special addition to this year’s service in the form of a “spectacularly” carved Poppy Bowl by master carver Jim Gordon.

Emerson said Gorden offered the rimu carving to the Anzac Trust “out of the blue”, where it currently holds a place of honour in the Tinui Anzac Museum.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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