Tenacity on poppy signs pays off

By Christine McKay

1 comment
A Dannevirke World War I committee project, the poppy places of remembrance was celebrated at Norsewood's Anzac Park. Kathryn Mulinder (left) secretary of the Dannevirke and Districts RSA, Roly Ellis, president of the RSA, Tim Delaney, chairman of the World War I committee, and Alex Lewis, who carried out the project. Photo / Christine McKay
A Dannevirke World War I committee project, the poppy places of remembrance was celebrated at Norsewood's Anzac Park. Kathryn Mulinder (left) secretary of the Dannevirke and Districts RSA, Roly Ellis, president of the RSA, Tim Delaney, chairman of the World War I committee, and Alex Lewis, who carried out the project. Photo / Christine McKay

During and after World War I communities around New Zealand began assigning place names marking specific events, people and circumstances linked to the war.

Now, 100 years on, the Places of Remembrance Trust has encouraged local councils and community boards to do the necessary research and then mark those places with a poppy, so the generations who follow will always remember the significance of those place names.

In Tararua's north ward, the Dannevirke World War I commemoration committee has taken up the challenge, led by the group's youngest member Alex Lewis.

Alex was a Dannevirke High School student and the school's community prefect and although he's now left school, he has spent long hours working on the project, which has culminated in three places of remembrance marked in our district - Soldiers Rd, in remote Ti Tree Point, Anzac Park at Norsewood, and the Ormondville Hall, known as the Peace Hall until a name change in 1920.

"We've got to admire Alex's tenacity," Tim Delaney, chairman of the Dannevirke World War I committee, said.

At a special ceremony at Norsewood's Anzac Park, Alex said he was surprised, but delighted, by the turnout to acknowledge the ceramic poppy on the sign.

"Soldiers Rd was the first place I researched, helped by high school teacher Pam Menzies.

After publicity in the Dannevirke News, people came forward from families who had lived up that road," he said.

"I learnt of the lives and struggles of those who lived there."

Alex admitted "quite a bit of work" went into researching and organising the installation of the poppies, with the help of Kay Steed from the Tararua District Council and Downers.

Alex has had to track down the roads, parks and halls which are eligible for this project.

He then had to research and write a supporting story for each.

Visitors can use their smartphones to scan the barcode alongside the poppy to bring up information related to the site.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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