Vows in tune with Armistice Day
The atmosphere at Armistice Day in the Waikato was full of the sound of gunfire, clashing swords, raised voices but also music and love was in the air.
People came from all parts of New Zealand to Lake Karapiro near Cambridge to experience the weekend event.
On Saturday, many took the chance to be part of re-enactments, depicting battles across many conflicts in the past 100 years.
Others came just to view the mock battle, to learn a bit about history and why it is important to remember November 11 as the end of World War I.
But for one Hamilton couple, it was to exchange vows.
Mark Vuletich and Sandra Jensen were married in a setting reminiscent of a love scene from a Hollywood war movie.
Jensen arrived by Jeep to the Long-Range Desert Group mock headquarters at the lake, greeted by her groom and a few hundred spectators.
The ceremony took place against the backdrop of a desert camp, complete with a soldier cleaning his rifle.
Gunfire also filled the air as celebrant Jeremy Mayall introduced the married couple.
Mayall remarked afterwards it was one of the most unusual settings he had brought two people together and was ‘‘my first shotgun wedding’’.
To the delight of the crowd, Sandra Vuletich turned her back and, as was the custom of the time, threw her bridal bouquet into the crowd.
Elsewhere, youngsters were able to ‘‘enlist’’ in the army and take their place in mock battles complete with flour bombs and paper swords.
Inside the nearby Don Rowlands Centre, it was army surplus heaven with uniforms, shell casings and weaponry of all descriptions.
Upstairs, mini battle scenes were staged and model war toys and kit sets were available for those DIY enthusiasts.
Outside in the car park area, singers performed popular wartime tunes, accompanied by dancers.
Static displays were on show and a huge array of military vehicles were parked up ready for inspection.
Featured were the FV103 Spartan and M8 Stuart Light Tank, among others.
More events were held at Lake Karapiro on Sunday.
It was a wartime wedding for Mark Vuletich and Sandra Jensen as they exchanged vows in front of marriage celebrant Jeremy Mayall.
A salute to the past from Aimee, left, and Lucy Steele from Hamilton at the Armistice Day commemorations in Cambridge.