Parade ‘a moving tribute to fallen’
On Anzac Day my wife Julie and I attended the dawn parade in Kaiko¯ura, and it was a truly moving tribute to the fallen.
The outlook during the service is quite amazing and only adds to the poignant nature of the day.
The silhouettes of the Amuri Mounted Rifles against the slowly lightening sky, the calm sea, the cabbage trees and the war monument were something special indeed.
This year the mounted rifles were joined by a representative of the Australian Mounted rifle brigade, which was a fitting tribute to their combined efforts overseas.
A huge crowd had gathered, which was wonderful to see.
I attend a number of Anzac service each year but I must say Kaiko¯ura’s Anzac service is truly unique, and not just because of the incredible place in which it’s held, but also the people who hold it.
Te Ru¯nanga o Kaiko¯ura provided a massive contribution to the service and demonstrated so clearly that those local people who served overseas were, and still are, held in very high esteem by their community.
It is a sad fact that each year our Anzac parades include fewer veterans and Julie and I were fortunate enough to visit a World War II veteran at Kaiko¯ura Health Te Ha¯ o Te Ora after the service.
But what is heartening is that the next generations of young are now marching proudly in their place.
As I said in my speech, the importance of these younger people attending Anzac services goes beyond honouring their families who fought on foreign soil, and their ancestors who fell.
In many cases, the youths in the parade would have been the same age as those who went to war. As we know, many of them lied about their age and could, and should, have been at school but instead went on a great adventure that turned into a nightmare.
Every name on every memorial around our country symbolises not only a loved one who tragically never come home, but the potential of a young per- son that was never realised.
That is why it was great to see that the Kaiko¯ura service, as well as the Blenheim and Ward services which Julie and I attended, are still something that people consider so important.
Lest we forget.
Young Kaikoura Ngati Kuri warriors stood guard at the cenotaph ceremony at last year’s Anzac Day ceremony.