An­zac hon­ours

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - KIRSTY LAWRENCE

As the sun rose on an­other An­zac Day ser­vice in The Square, thou­sands of Palmer­ston North res­i­dents paid their re­spects at the ceno­taph.

Mayor Grant Smith spoke to the crowd on Wed­nes­day, re­mind­ing them that 100 years ago, peace seemed like a dis­tant me­mory.

He said the bru­tal­ity of World War I left its mark on New Zealand.

‘‘I can only imag­ine the dark days our coun­try was go­ing through at this time.’’

By Fe­bru­ary 1918, New Zealand had 18,000 ca­su­al­ties of war. Of the 5000 lives lost, 800 were from Palmer­ston North, a large num­ber con­sid­er­ing the pop­u­la­tion was only 12,000.

Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Adam Flaws, from the New Zealand De­fence Col­lege in Palmer­ston North, spoke about how 1918 was a year of bit­ter losses.

As well as the high ca­su­alty list and loss of life, New Zealand was swept by an in­fluenza epi­demic that killed an­other 8000 peo­ple.

Flaws said the com­mit­ment of New Zealand’s armed forces didn’t stop af­ter World War I and WWII ei­ther, with Korea, Viet­nam, East Ti­mor and Afghanistan all fol­low­ing.

‘‘All risk their lives in de­ploy­ment.’’

For Flaws, An­zac Day was al­ways about hon­our­ing the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice.

Awatupu Col­lege stu­dent and Palmer­ston North Youth Coun­cil mem­ber Mosiah Iga­tia spoke about his fam­ily con­nec­tion to war. His rel­a­tives went from Niue to fight in the bat­tle.

He said 150 men left their is­land par­adise for the hor­rors of the WWI bat­tle­fields. His great­great-un­cle and great-great- grand­fa­ther were two such men.

Dur­ing WWII, his great­grand­fa­ther served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, giv­ing Mosiah links to both events.

As the dawn light started spread­ing, var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions and ser­vices were in­vited to lay wreaths on the ceno­taph.

An im­pres­sive ad­di­tion this year was a wreath of large pop­pies, about 1 me­tre square in size, or­gan­ised by the Rangi­wahia En­vi­ron­men­tal Arts Cen­tre and cre­ated by Manawatu¯ res­i­dents. It fea­tured front and cen­tre dur­ing the ser­vice.

The clock tower was lit up red for the cer­e­mony, with large pop- pies on dis­play on the pan­els.

Af­ter the dawn cer­e­mony, many of the par­tic­i­pants in the pa­rade re­tired to the Cos­mopoli­tan Club on Lin­ton St, or at­tended the mayor’s VIP break­fast at the Con­fer­ence and Func­tion Cen­tre.

A smaller, civic cer­e­mony was held at 9am.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/STUFF

Thou­sands gath­ered in The Square in Palmer­ston North for An­zac Day ser­vices.

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