Up to 8000 people are expected to attend a special combined Anzac Day civic service in Tauranga's Domain to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
In an historic first for the Tauranga and Mount Maunganui RSA clubs, they have agreed to hold a joint parade and service on The Domain, which served as a military camp for some of the country's major conflicts.
Dawn services would continue to be held at the cenotaphs on Marine Parade and at the Tauranga RSA's Greerton clubrooms, with the civic service starting at 10am.
Mount RSA general manager Peter Moss said The Domain was chosen because it had the capacity to handle the 5000 to 8000 people expected to attend the service, and was about halfway between the two clubs.
The change of venue from Memorial Park also recognised the historical significance of The Domain's War Memorial Gates and that Tauranga's first Anzac Day parade was held there.
Mr Moss was among members of Tauranga's WW100 committee that were yesterday walked through the proposed layout for the service which will last an hour.
The liaison for New Zealand Cadet Forces in Tauranga Lee White said the service would include reading out the names of the 106 Tauranga servicemen and one Mount soldier who were killed or died from injuries received in World War I. As their names were read out, cadets would stick a poppy on to 107 temporary memorial crosses.
Mr White said the RSAs decided to have one event for all the people of Tauranga instead of splitting the community in half.
Organisers were crossing their fingers yesterday's blue skies over Tauranga would be repeated on Anzac Day, which this year falls on a Saturday. The dawn services would have an expanded format to recognise the centenary of the April 25 landings on Gallipoli.
The Domain was also chosen because of the availability of parking, with free buses planned to run from Tauranga RSA and stopping to pick up people along Cameron Rd. Free buses were also planned to run from the Mount RSA, with park-and-ride stops proposed at Blake Park and the Mount College.
Ex-servicemen and servicewomen would be joined on the parade by 22 sailors from the frigate HMNZS Te Mana whose home port was Tauranga.
The length of the civic service would be no longer than an hour. "Old diggers can't be out there for too long," Mr Moss said.
The Domain's Memorial Gates
*Planning started in 1915
*One of New Zealand's first proposed memorials
*Opened December 1921 after raising $2400