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Country's smallest RSA opens at Eden Park

By Vaughan Young, Frances Cook

The country's smallest RSA has just opened up in Eden Park.

But it's not a traditional Returned and Services Association centre. It's been built for the younger generation of the Defence Force.

RSA patron Jason Pore said he joined the military at 18, eventually working in the SAS.

He was in an accident in 2002 which cost him his left leg, and also fractured his right leg.

Pore said that support from fellow veterans had been crucial for him.

He believed something as simple and unique as being at Eden Park during a game created comradeship with between veterans.

"Standing around here, share a few stories, no ranks in here."

Other RSAs have come under pressure around the country, with some closing.

But Pore said the innovation and new approach of being at Mt Eden would work in the new centre's favour.

"You have the opportunity with family and friends to watch the game together, and to me that's so exciting."

RSA vice-chairman Graham Gibson said the project was made possible by a great relationship with the Eden Park Trust, and the help of real estate company Barfoot & Thompson.

"Auckland RSA has been wanting to freshen the whole way we do business, so this is an ideal fit for us.

"I really don't want the young ones to feel the way we felt when we came back from Vietnam. It wasn't good.

"I want the young ones to be proud that they've served, their service is equal to my service, or anyone that's served."

He said sport was an ideal fit to keep younger veterans engaged with the veteran community.

- NZ Herald

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