Despite the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Gabrielle and the ongoing clean-up, Tinui is sticking with tradition this Anzac Day – albeit with some caveats.
The Tinui Anzac Committee confirmed at a recent meeting that the annual Anzac commemoration would go ahead on April 25.
Committee chair Alan Emerson said this year will mark the 107th service in the town – which held the world’s first Anzac Day service in 1916 – despite it bearing the brunt of Cyclone Gabrielle last month.
“It will be different from previous years, although the service itself will be the same,” Emerson noted.
“We felt it needed to be continued.”
In recent years, service attendees have walked the 3km Anzac Walkway from Tinui Cemetery to the memorial cross on top of Tinui Taipo. However, that will not be possible this year, Emerson said.
“The track to the cross is an absolute write-off, and it will be all hands on deck to get it ready for Anzac Day 2024.”
With Tinui Primary School still operating from the community hall since the February flooding, Emerson said the post-service refreshments will also be curtailed.
“It won’t be the massive spread of previous years, with the kitchen and supper rooms being used as classrooms, and the committee firmly believes that we shouldn’t interfere with that.”
However, Emerson said that the committee and Tinui locals were looking forward to continuing the tradition and confirmed Brigadier Anne Campbell would be this year’s guest speaker.
Campbell shattered glass ceilings in 2005 when she became the first woman to be promoted to Brigadier in the New Zealand Army and, as a doctor, led surgical teams into some of the world’s harshest climates for disaster relief, including Indonesia after the Boxing Day Tsunami, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea.
Tinui Parish’s Reverend Steve Thomson, who delivered the call to remembrance last year, will also officiate.
Thomson acknowledged during last year’s service that Tinui and the surrounding districts were far from immune to the horrors of war, and while many former soldiers were buried at Tinui Cemetery, others never came home.
Emerson said Wairarapa TV would once again broadcast the service and said the committee was also hoping to secure a vintage aircraft flyover.