Anzac haka leads to talk of ex­pan­sion

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

THE RSL will con­sider mak­ing a New Zealand haka high­light­ing veterans’ and men‘s men­tal health part of an­nual Anzac Day cer­e­monies af­ter the suc­cess of the in­au­gu­ral Haka for Life at King’s Park last week.

“We sup­port any­thing that sup­ports veterans,” RSL WA spokesman Martin Holzberger said.

About 200 New Zealan­ders, Aus­tralians and a few for­eign­ers took part in the haka or­gan­ised by men’s men­tal health ad­vo­cate Leon Ruri.

The haka was held some dis­tance away and af­ter the dawn ser­vice.

It also re­flected the orig­i­nal trans-Tas­man bonds cre­ated by the Aus­tralia New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) in 1915.

The RSL would now like to dis­cuss the haka be­ing po­ten­tially held at an­other site dur­ing fu­ture Anzac Days, so its ef­fect and mes­sages are taken to more of the pub­lic.

“We do think it could be an­other place, per­haps the start of the march, so we can make it into a sig­nif­i­cant part of the day,” Mr Holzberger said.

In Fe­bru­ary, a Se­nate in­quiry was told the es­ti­mated rate of sui­cide among veterans was about 12 per 100,000 – twice the rate of deaths from car crashes na­tion­ally.

Last month’s Haka for Life gained na­tional, New Zealand, United King­dom and Brazil­ian pub­lic­ity.

Mr Ruri is now in­ves­ti­gat­ing mak­ing it a char­ity to de­velop other events and as­sis­tance for men­tal health pro­mo­tion, in­clud­ing men­tal health or­gan­i­sa­tions Life­line and Be­yond Blue. He said he recog­nised Perth’s dawn ser­vice was a solemn event.

“A haka is my way of ex­press­ing to you I love you, and it’s the most pow­er­ful way of say­ing I recog­nise you as a per­son,” Mr Ruri said.

If you need sup­port, call Life­line on 13 11 14 or the Veterans Fam­i­lies Coun­selling Ser­vice on 1800 011 046.

Picture: Marie Nirme­mu­ni­ d467541

Leon Ruri has fur­ther ideas for his Haka for Life.

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