Poppy field finds new home
A handmade ‘‘ poppy field’’ created by Palmerston North people as the city’s Community Arts contribution to last year’s Anzac centennial has found a permanent home.
On Saturday the 5 metre by 1.2 metre field, with its more than 1200 handmade knitted and felted poppies, was handed over to Dick Tredwell and Steve Thomson of the Tinui Parish Anzac Trust to hang in the Tinui War Memorial Hall.
Tinui is the Wairarapa farming settlement where possibly the world’s first formal Anzac Day service was held on April 25, 1916.
In 1914 there were more than a thousand single men living in the Tinui area. Many of them volunteered, and many died.
‘‘I don’t think the average person realises the extent of how that war ravaged the ranks of our young men,’’ Thomson said.
In 1916, the Reverend Basil Ashcroft held the Anzac ceremony, and he and his parishioners erected a cross on the hill overlooking Tinui.
Thomson said the priest then immediately resigned from the parish and went to serve on the Western Front with the next echelon of reinforcements as a chaplain. He returned to resume his duties at Tinui in 1919.
Ashcroft’s great grandson is a colonel in the New Zea- land Defence Force, and spoke at Tinui’s 100th Anzac commemoration.
Tredwell said that Tinui’s Anzac tradition had become a galvanising influence in the small community, and they were pleased to offer the poppy field a home.
Community Arts’ Carol Leckie said the field, displayed in the Square Edge gallery last year, was originally intended for the Waiouru Army Museum.
However, as the museum was inundated with poppies and the local RSA had nowhere for it to hang, the Tinui Trust was approached, and accepted custodianship of the handcrafted work.
‘‘We weren’t prescriptive about our poppies, so they came in a lot of different sizes and shapes with all sorts of individual embellishments,’’ Leckie said.
As well as commemorating the local men who died during the Great War, the hall contains memorabilia from the conflict and from the original Anzac Day service.
‘‘A lot of people contributed to the poppy field, and they’d be interested to know where it ended up,’’ Leckie said.
Steve Thomson and Dick Tredwell from the Wairarapa farming community of Tinui accepting the Anzac poppy field created in Palmerston North.