Brass bands’ Square-bash a real blast

Thou­sands turned up for the per­for­mance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Over­ture in The Square and the 60th Palmer­ston North Char­ter Pa­rade, both held on Satur­day. Mur­rayWil­son went along.


Thou­sands of peo­ple lined city streets in the heart of Palmer­ston North to watch a full-on bay­o­nets fixed, drums beat­ing, bands play­ing, colours fly­ing and swords drawn mil­i­tary pa­rade.

Satur­day’s cel­e­bra­tions were to com­mem­o­rate and re­con­firm the 1956 char­ters that granted Lin­ton Mil­i­tary Camp and the Ohakea air force base the right to pa­rade in the city.

About 100 soldiers and air­men from Lin­ton and Ohakea marched in the pa­rade from out­side Cafe Ex­press, around The Square and past the ceno­taph.

Ohakea base com­man­der Group Cap­tain Nick Ol­ney said the idea to have the com­bined event re­sulted from a meet­ing be­tween the two camps.

‘‘It was an op­por­tu­nity for us to demon­strate to our lo­cal com­mu­nity how joint we are.’’

It was the first time both ser­vices had to­gether marked the in­di­vid­ual char­ters that were be­stowed upon Lin­ton and and Ohakea 60 years ago.

In the evening an es­ti­mated 3000 peo­ple packed out The Square to see the ar­tillary­punc­tu­ated or­ches­tral per­for­mance of the 1812 Over­ture that capped the day’s cel­e­bra­tions.

Zan­dra Turner from the Palmer­ston North events team said the oc­ca­sion was a won­der­ful day for the com­mu­nity.

Mayor Grant Smith said the De­fence Force had a sig­nif­i­cant Manawatu pres­ence, with Lin­ton now the largest mil­i­tary camp in the coun­try.

‘‘This is a great op­por­tu­nity to recog­nise those who ded­i­cate their lives to serv­ing our coun­try and to cel­e­brate the strong re­la­tion­ship the city holds with Lin­ton Mil­i­tary Camp, RNZAF Base Ohakea, and the New Zealand De­fence Col­lege.’’

Smith said the De­fence Force pro­vided hun­dreds of jobs in Manawatu and in­jected mil­lions of dol­lars into the re­gional econ­omy.

‘‘With all the build­ing around Lin­ton, Ohakea and the De­fence Col­lege, there will be hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars spent here over the next six to 10 years, with con­sid­er­ably more to come.’’

The 16th Field Reg­i­ment ar­tillery dur­ing the con­cert per­form­ing Tchi­akovsky’s mu­si­cal trib­ute to the Rus­sian army.

Air Force and Army per­son­nel dur­ing the per­for­mance of the ‘1812 Over­ture’.

The New Zealand Army Band com­bine with Palmer­ston North Brass Band.

Mayor Grant Smith in­spects the hon­our guard at the Char­ter Pa­rade.

An air force fly­over of The Square.

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