Anzacs’ values still relevant today
Each year, student leaders from Matamata College speak at the Anzac Civic Service at Matamata Memorial Centre. Head boy Joe Tompsett spoke on Friday of the courage and camaraderie of the Anzacs
It is an honour to be standing here on a day that has so much meaning to our community and country alike. Anzac Day is an occasion on which I, myself take a lot of pride in what New Zealand and Australian forces achieved on the sands of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli 99 years ago and the great influence that their courageous fighting spirit and sacrifices have had on New Zealand’s nationhood.
Although I am a first generation kiwi, meaning that I don’t have a personal family connection to Anzac Day, growing up in New Zealand, hearing the stories of camaraderie and courage, has had a great effect on what the day means to me.
Being able to see the great influence the Anzacs have had on New Zealand and the great sacrifices that were made in order to benefit New Zealand’s future has made it very easy for me to think of myself as a New Zealander, taking pride in what the Anzacs achieved. The shaping of New Zealand culture and society that has taken place as a result of the sense of identity that Anzac Day created has allowed my family to truly make New Zealand our home finding comfort in the values that the Anzacs inspired, and allowing me to grow into the person I am today.
I am able to understand now, more than ever, the great importance this day has to our country through the things it symbolises: national pride and identity, which were inspired by our young men earning respect by punching well above their weight for their country’s future and its freedom – for our future and our freedom.
One of the most humbling and most harrowing facts of Anzac Day, that speaks to me, and which I believe allows Anzac Day to speak to everyone, is that the young men fighting for our country were not much older than myself.
Many were farm boys looking for an escape from the life they had always known, in search of an adventure of sorts.
This state of mind is particularly relatable in a small farming community such as Matamata. It is this fact that makes Anzac ever-awe-inspiring and ever-relevant, as it will always speak to everyone in the community, allowing the Anzac legacy to continue, which is imperative as our country moves forward.
It is a case of not forgetting where our roots lie as we reflect on the values that the Anzacs instilled in us that have shaped the New Zealand character.
Though the initial conflict in Gallipoli, the landing itself, spelled many losses for allied forces and resulted in a retreat, the victory came in what was achieved for our country and this is where I feel we can find our inspiration, where we find our pride and where we find the spirit of Anzac day laying as we see the values of courage and mateship continue to live on in our country forever shaping our sense of national identity and pride. As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain, As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, To the end, to the end, they remain.
Paying respects: Matamata College head girl Kelly Petersen and head boy Joe Tompsett lay a wreath upon the cenotaph.