Proud dad shows off his little soldier at dawn service

By Solbin Kang

There were plenty of ooohs and ahhhs at Wellington's Anzac dawn service today as Rawiri Phillips attended in a handmade soldier uniform his mum stayed up all night to make.

The 4-week-old attended the early morning service at Pukeahu National War Memorial with his soldier dad, Private Tukotahi Phillips, and mum Amanda.

His mum spent all night carefully sewing the camouflaged shirt and pants, and his green beret which had a poppy attached.

Rawiri Phillips with his mum and dad, Amanda and Tukotahi Phillips.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Rawiri Phillips with his mum and dad, Amanda and Tukotahi Phillips. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The baby even displayed his dad's medal on his lapel.

"I was even doing it [sewing] as we were walking out the door," she told the Herald at Trentham Military Camp where the family is based.

Her efforts didn't go unnoticed at the service as fellow attendees smiled and grabbed the opportunity to take photos of him while being held by his dad.

"We thought we would quickly go through the tunnel to get biscuits and it took a little longer but she made me promise we would get some photos together 'cause she stayed up all night doing it but we didn't realise lots of people wanted to get photos as well so that was nice," Private Phillips said.

He said Rawiri was unsettled throughout the service, especially when the cannon boomed to mark the beginning of it.

"He was quite vocal but after the service he was settled ... I think the loud cannon got to him as well."

"We were near it so we felt the shockwaves."

Rawiri Phillips peacefully slept at the end of the service in Tukotahi Phillips' arms. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Rawiri Phillips peacefully slept at the end of the service in Tukotahi Phillips' arms. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He peacefully slept at the end of the service, while crowds gathered to take photos of him, but when the Herald visited, he wasn't too happy.

Private Phillips is a Reserve Force soldier in the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.

His father, also named Tukotahi but known as Jim, served as a Private in the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment for 13 years. He was deployed for eight years in Malaya and Borneo during his time.

"He didn't talk about it much but I know he passed up a promotion a few times," Private Phillips said.

"He just wanted to do his job and be a driver of the infantry."

- NZ Herald

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