Pupils learn meaning of Anzac Day
Torrential rain only added to the poignancy of the special Anzac service at Matamata Intermediate on Thursday.
The service is an annual event at the school, teaching the students the importance of celebrating Anzac Day.
Matua Jackson August, one of the few soldiers to serve with all three New Zealand infantry regiments, was invited to speak to the children about the role the 28th (Maori) Battalion played in World War II.
His grandfather, also named Jackson August, was a sergeant in the battalion and was awarded a military medal for the successful raid on the El Mrier depression in the war. He was killed several weeks later.
Teacher and former soldier Gary Crocker said they were trying to encourage the children to find out about their own family ties to the war.
‘‘ The whole point of it is to encourage them to head along to the Dawn Parade on Anzac Day,’’ he said.
Pipe Sergeant Ray Crafts and Vietnam veteran Erik Kristenson led the school outside, where two students laid a wreath under the flag.
A minute’s silence was observed before the Last Post sounded, followed by the national anthem.
The kapa haka boys then performed a haka to August, who knelt in the pouring rain.
Respect: Matua Jackson August kneels in the rain as students perform the
Salute: Staff Sergeant Erik Kristenson stands to attention as a minute’s silence is observed.
Challenge: Matamata Intermediate students perform a haka after the Anzac