We remember: Bring Anzac celebrations alive

This Anzac Day there are a host of events planned to commemorate and educate yourselves and the little ones about our wartime past, writes Diana Clement.

Members of the public turn up for the Anzac Day dawn service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo / Greg Bowker
Members of the public turn up for the Anzac Day dawn service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo / Greg Bowker

Lest we forget. A new generation of Kiwis are learning about the Anzacs as they grow up. The choices of events are wide and varied, ranging from traditional dawn services and breakfast at the RSA through to exhibitions and even an Anzac-themed pub quiz.

AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM

Taking in an Anzac event is a great way to explain to children about war and conflict says Jo Brookbanks, event developer at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

The museum itself has an annual Lest We Forget poetry competition, with the winners reading out their verse in the Hall of Memories at 1pm. Poetry, says Brookbanks is a great way to engage children's emotions.

Younger children will enjoy Kids Poppy Making in the Stevenson Discovery Centre from noon to 4.30pm. Museum staff help connect the children with the context behind the symbolic poppy, says Brookbanks.

Beat the retreat
Auckland's 24 Battalion, established in 1947 to maintain the bonds forged in wartime, will beat its final retreat tonight at 5pm and tomorrow at 10am at the Auckland Museum.

Short films at Auckland museum
Four short films tell the story of the film-makers' time serving in World War I. The film-makers include Robyn Malcolm, who visits the towns of Passchendaele and Ypres in Belgium - both near the cemetery where her great uncle, Private George Salmond is buried. 8.30am and 2pm. Auckland Museum.

Illuminate: 24 Battalion Anzac Film Projections
Today and Sunday, 7pm-10pm

Projected on to the Auckland Museum facade as part of the annual Illuminate series. (Running time: 12 minutes, film replays on a loop over three hours.)

Film-maker Gaylene Preston edited archival footage celebrating the 24 Battalion as their post-war association draws to a close after 65 years, including their campaigns in North Africa and Egypt and the faces of the men that fought. "Looking at the young faces of the men of the 24 Battalion, panning over the footage of the tanks rolling in, you can't help but wonder which of these boys came back.

"It also brings home how foreign the whole experience must have been for these young men, transported from their life in New Zealand to another world in the midst of a war," she says.

THE DAWN PARADES

Anzac Day dawn parades are a rite of passage for young New Zealanders. Whether it's at Gallipoli itself, the Auckland Museum, or a local RSA, it's something little ones will remember for life.

If the adults want to stick to tradition they can have a hot toddy before the parade.

Afterwards thousands of Kiwis return to their local RSA. At the Papakura RSA, for example, there is a mess-hall style breakfast of sausages, peas, gravy and mashed potato, served up.

The creme-de-la-creme of dawn services is at the Cenotaph, Auckland Museum, at 6am. The veterans assemble at 5.30am for a 5.45am departure.

Howick
Mike Cole who has run the Howick RSA's dawn parade at Stockade Hill for 25 years first attended himself as an 8-year-old member of the local cub troop in 1956.

What makes the Howick dawn service special is the coastal location up Stockade Hill, where the Howick Cenotaph is located. At dawn the sun starts to rise over the Coromandel Hills to reveal panoramic views from Thames right through to Whangaparaoa.

Every year local RSA member Leo Abbott researches the story of one of the fallen soldiers listed on the Cenotaph. This year it's the story of Private Arthur Alexander Burgess, who died on July 26, 1918, at Rossignol Wood in France.

The assembled crowd will also hear from the winner of the Howick RSA's Anzac essay competition, which children from local schools enter.

Piha
For something a little bit different, and for those who like to lie in on Anzac Day, head out to the Piha RSA, where the parade starts at 1.45pm from the RSA in Beach Valley Rd and is piped down to the beach ending at Lion Rock, where the last post is played by a bugler and the wreaths laid.

Piha's World War I Roll of Honour is attached to Lion Rock. Around 50 men from the local Piha State Sawmill volunteered to fight in World War I. Sixteen of them died and never returned home.

East Coast Bays
The North Shore's only dawn parade is at Browns Bay, leaving from the RSA clubrooms in Bute Rd, at 5.45am. Highlights include horseback riders in the parade.

Pukekohe
The Pukekohe RSA believes it has the only RSA pipe band in New Zealand. The band will lead a parade from Hall St outside the old post office at 10.45am.

Henderson
Although not a dawn parade, Henderson's 11.30am service outside the fire station in Railside Ave has something special this year. A ceremonial sword belonging to VC recipient Sergeant Judson will be returned to his descendants. A local Henderson RSA member has owned the sword for decades, but discovered last year that Sgt Judson's descendants lived in Wellington after he saw the young great grandson on television. The young boy was fascinated with his ancestor and will travel to Auckland with his family for the ceremony.

Waikumete
The Waikumete Cemetery in Glen Eden is one of the more picturesque spots in Auckland to see the sun rise on Anzac Day. The parade starts at 5.45am and the service is followed by breakfast at the Glen Eden RSA.

ANZAC ARTS

Spirit of Anzac concert
New Zealand's top brass band, the Dalewool Auckland Brass, is getting into the Anzac spirit with two concerts in Orewa and Onehunga. The program focuses on conflict, peace, camaraderie and remembrance with tunes inspired by both world wars.

Among the line-up in the band is principal cornet player John Lewis who recently won the prestigious Ern Keller Memorial Soloist of the Year competition in Sydney.

Some of the pieces being played at the two Anzac concerts include: The Dam Busters, 633 Squadron, Miller Magic, Hymn to the Fallen from the movie Saving Private Ryan, and the hymn Nimrod.

* Orewa: Centrestage Theatre, Centreway Rd, Orewa. Sunday, 2:30pm

* Onehunga: Onehunga RSA. Sunday April 29, 2.30pm

* Cost: Adults $30, Seniors $25, School-age children free

Whitespace Gallery Anzac exhibition
Nearly a century after the beginning of hostilities at Gallipoli, artist Bob Kerr has produced a series of oil on board paintings based on two soldiers, one from each side of the conflict. The exhibition Hell Here Now at Whitespace Gallery tells the story of Kiwi Alfred Cameron and Turk Ismail Hakki's tours of duty for their countries during World War I. Cameron eventually returned wounded to New Zealand, but Hakki was killed later in the war. There is a public talk at 2pm, today. For more see page 16.

* Whitespace Contemporary Art, 12 Crummer Rd, Ponsonby, until May 6.

Motat
Free entry to war veterans on Anzac Day. Motat's collection of wartime memorabilia will be on display. Museum of Transport and Technology, 805 Great North Rd, Western Springs.

Puhoi
The Puhoi Library's Lest We Forget display is open from 12pm-3pm on Anzac Day with tea, coffee and Anzac biscuits served for all. Meanwhile the community is holding The Big Anzac Quiz at the Puhoi Centennial Hall on Tuesday April 24 from 7.30pm to raise money for hall maintenance.

Mt Eden
We'll Meet Again concert by Diva Magique with romantic love songs from the war time. Today 1pm at the Panmure Community Centre, 7-13 Pilkington Rd, Panmure. $10.


The Auckland Museum has the official Book of Remembrance open again this year for the public to post messages during the ANZAC period.

The public can also download the Dawn Service programme here.

- NZ Herald

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