Te Puke pays tribute on Anzac Day

By Pauline Carney

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Te Puke High School head girl Dayna Rowe accompanies her grandfather Ernie Dix as he lays a wreath at the Te Puke War Memorial courtyard. Photo/Pauline Carney
Te Puke High School head girl Dayna Rowe accompanies her grandfather Ernie Dix as he lays a wreath at the Te Puke War Memorial courtyard. Photo/Pauline Carney

Te Puke honoured its old soldiers and looked to its future in a hometown civic ceremony at the War Memorial Hall today.

Five former military vehicles lead the parade, carrying veterans for whom the walk from the Post Office to the hall was a few steps too far.

"We've lost a fair few vets in the past 12 months," said Te Puke RSA president Colin Peake as he was organising the military convoy, leaving from the resited RSA club's premises, shared with Te Puke Citizens Club.

The fine but cool and windy morning drew a crowd onto Jellicoe Street where the ranks followed the Te Puke and District Highland Band, with about two dozen former service men, current armed forces personnel, emergency service personnel, cadets and members of St John and Red Cross corps, Scouts and Guides, school children.

Speakers this year included the president of the Citizens club Mark Fagan; Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson, Anglican vicar Ruth Dewdney, head pupils from Te Puke High School and Intermediate.

High school head girl Dayna Rowe stole the show with her tribute to her grandfather, Ernie Dix, who has looked after the RSA's library and mementos and is a well regarded member of the Te Puke club.

Dayna and head boy Vun Ratu said at age 17 neither had a direct connection to any war.

Mr Dix fought his final war for the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, Dayna said.

"Anzac Day is my day of remembrance. It will always be about my grandfather for me . . . pride when he received honours for his services, Anzac Day ceremonies where I watch him march with dignity ...

"Forever grateful I shall be to the Anzac soldiers for the sacrifice and love they had for me to allow me to have achieved and been given all of the incredible opportunities I am supplied with today."

Te Puke ward Western Bay councillors, from left, Kevin Marsh, John Scrimgeour, Mayor Ross Paterson, and Sue Matthews approach the memorial plinth. Photo/Pauline Carney
Te Puke ward Western Bay councillors, from left, Kevin Marsh, John Scrimgeour, Mayor Ross Paterson, and Sue Matthews approach the memorial plinth. Photo/Pauline Carney

- Bay of Plenty Times

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