Across the country New Zealanders took a moment to pause and remember those who served and made sacrifices for our nation. Our New Zealand First MP’s and Ministers were scattered across the country paying tribute and have reflected upon the significance of ANZAC day to them.
Hon Ron Mark
My partner Christine and I spent ANZAC Day in Christchurch, where I was the Government representative at the dawn and civic services. I was posted to Burnham for a long time, and lived in Christchurch for 30 years, so to be back for ANZAC Day as the Minister of Defence and Veterans was an honour. Following the services I visited a few of the local RSAs including Christchurch Central, Papanui, Templeton and Rangiora. While at Templeton the President surprised me by presenting me with a life membership. I was a member of Templeton for over a decade, and to be recognised by them in this way was humbling. I also had some time to call in on 96 year old New Zealand First stalwart Val McMaster
ANZAC Day means a lot to so many people, and it was great to see so many people turning out in Christchurch to honour those who have served our nation. My utmost thanks to all of you who took their time to remember those who gave so much in the quest for peace and freedom. Lest we forget.
This year I delivered an ANZAC address in Niue to Honourable Premier Sir Toke Talagi, Government Ministers, Church Leaders, President and members of the Niue Returned Services’ Association and Chief and Members of the Niue Police.
In October 1915, the people of Niue were in pain having farewelled 150 men whose sense of duty and desire to serve saw them depart from this beautiful island joined by a further 11 who enlisted from Auckland. Many of those did not return and are buried alongside their fellow Kiwi soldiers in New Zealand, Egypt, France and England.
We must never change our commitment to honour and remember those who have in the past served valiantly – whether on foreign shores or at home.
Hon Tracey Martin
With travel plans disrupted I took the opportunity to take a quiet moment at the cenotaph in Devonport where later this morning there will be an “unofficial” ceremony. Some might recognise that as the “ANZAC” spirit.
While looking at the faces of those lost in the great wars on the crosses bearing their names the peace and tranquillity, the friendliness of passer-by’s seemed also to bear witness to their sacrifice.
As the great great granddaughter, great granddaughter, granddaughter, daughter and sister of those who have served, to mark this day is always important.
Hon Shane Jones
This year I spoke at a well attended dawn service at Kaikohe. Together, we paid our respects to the people of Kaikohe and other Northland communities who have served their country on the field of battle and paid the price of citizenship. We must never forget their contribution. Kia kaha.
ANZAC Day service in Palmerston North was a beautiful morning with a large crowd gathered and a significant number of the younger generations showing their support and remembrance of those who have served, fought and died for our country. The service is always a humbling experience that honours our ANZAC soldiers and makes me keenly feel the ultimate sacrifices they made for the families they left behind at home.
A cancelled last flight out of Wellington meant I attended the Dawn Parade at the National War Memorial in the capital instead of Balclutha and Lawrence as planned. Fortunately a morning flight allowed me to also attend the Milton Commemorations back in Clutha as well and provided me with two different Anzac Day experiences.
There was the grand pomp and ceremony of the National Service in Wellington with the New Zealand Army Band, politicians, and the Anzac address from the Governor General.
Then there was the quintessential rural commemoration at Milton with its local pipe band, leading a parade of the local fire brigade, St John, Scouts and RSA with an address by the local chaplin, the poignancy of the crosses and the local family names on the Cenotaph. Symbolic of hundreds of such services around the country.
New Zealand did the memory of those who sacrificed for our country proud. We haven’t forgotten.
Three generations of my family and I joined in the ANZAC day Commemoration Service at the Tauranga Queen Memorial Park Epitaph.
We were joined by many other families and dignitaries from around the Bay of Plenty, who also came to remember those who sacrificed so much to protect what is so dear to us all.
It was a beautiful morning and a great service, I particularly enjoyed the speeches given by both the Head Boy and Head Girl from Bethleham College who spoke so well and shared stories and feelings that strongly resonated with the audience.
Lest we forget.
Anzac Day 2019 dawned into a still and solemn occasion. It was a privilege to attend the 61st Dawn Parade conducted by the Patea RSA.
My sister Gabriel and her family are locals and I had a proud Aunty moment as I watched my nephew in his Air Cadet uniform march in the parade to the War Memorial.
Following the service I was invited to speak to those at the Old Folks Hall on the main street of town.
A feature of the commemorations was hearing from retired NZ Army Corporal Charlene Baird who completed two tours to Afghanistan. She attended the service with her father who also served our country in a number of campaigns.
They spoke of the choice they made to stand up and although today we are fighting a different type of war, not fascism or communism, but a new kind of terrorism and violent extremism, we need a new generation to make the choice to answer the call to service.
As peace is the ultimate goal we will continue to strive for a time when we no longer need to send our young ones to war.