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Tīnui showing genuine Anzac spirit

The Wairarapa Times-Age has been incredibly supportive of Anzac Day at Tīnui, which is appreciated by locals.

Today, few people live in the Tīnui village, but the rural hinterland is alive and well.

It’s claim to fame is being the first place in the world to hold an Anzac Day memorial service and that service continues to this day. Maintaining that tradition takes both time and effort, and lots of it. It is the entire community that provides the people and the effort to make the day successful.

For example, 10 years ago, there wasn’t a public track to the Cross on the summit of Mount Maunsell or Tīnui Taipo. Now there is, all four and a half kilometres of it. While some of the track is over farmland and through an exotic forest a large part of it was through virgin bush and scrub and that took effort, lots of it.

The track is incredibly popular.

The track was severely damaged during Cyclone Gabrielle. An engineer was engaged, who believed that it could be restored but that it would require a massive amount of work.

Under the supervision of local farmer Bill Maunsell, that work was done effectively and without fuss. The track re-opened in November last year and was incredibly popular after last week’s Anzac service.

Despite being offered a lift both Sir Jerry and Lady Mateparae walked to the summit to enjoy the view and to appreciate the historical significance of the Taipo and the Cross.

The area around the Cross is owned in perpetuity by the Tīnui ANZAC Trust.

The walk goes over Mike and Lesley Hodgins’ farm and through Tīnui Forest Park. Both willingly provided access and are incredibly supportive of Anzac at Tinui.

The morning tea after the service is a credit to the Tīnui Women’s Institute, which does the job incredibly well.

The hall was absolutely packed after the service and I wondered if the food would last; it did.

The Tīnui and Whareama school children are also involved and read the names of the fallen.

The service itself is run by retired local farmer Rev Steve Thomson, local organist Caryl Forrest, and extremely talented vocalist Emily Wellbrock. Craig McKelvey is a vastly experienced cameraman who freely gives his time.

The support from outside Tīnui is also considerable. Masterton District Council have willingly supported the activities, and Alisdair Palmer provides the sound and equipment to stream the service live using local provider WIZwireless.

Masterton’s Whakaoriori Air Scouts have supported Tīnui Anzac for many years, as have the local police.

Soldiers from QAMR come from Linton, Zavier Boyles, the piper came from Wellington and Sir Jerry from the Kapiti Coast.

It’s great to see the Tīnui Café and Bar open and flourishing, and having a retired soldier, Maurice Turner, running the establishment is a bonus.

Anzac Day at Tīnui enjoys massive local and Wairarapa support, which is a credit to both. Long may it continue.

    Alan Emerson is a semi-retired writer, farmer and businessman living in Wairarapa. He writes a weekly column for Farmers Weekly and has written and/or edited five books.

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