Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Rotorua remembers the end of WWI

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While the numbers of war veterans might be dwindling, Rotorua residents are stepping in to fill their places at memorial events.

About 120 people - veterans, local dignitaries, members of the public and visitors to the Government Gardens all paid their respects at the annual Armistice Day commemorations in Rotorua today.

They marked the moment when on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the guns fell silent on the Western Front, marking the end of WWI - 98 years later Rotorua remembered the sacrifice made by all those who fought in the conflict.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick spoke about the sacrifice our soldiers made on all battlefields across the world and what the district would be doing to remember them in future.

During the service The Last Post was played, followed by the reciting of the Ode of Remembrance and the playing of Reveille before speeches and the laying of wreaths.

Mrs Chadwick said plans were already under way to hold an Armistice Day Ball in 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, a gala event to be held in the Rotorua Museum.

The 100th anniversary of the end of the war will also be marked by the restoration and unveiling of the Te Arawa Soldiers' Memorial, just down the road from the Cenotaph.

The original memorial was unveiled on February 28, 1927 by HRH the Duke of York, later King George VI, during a royal visit to New Zealand.

However, during the years it deteriorated and elements of the structure have been vandalised.

The restoration project is being run by the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia.

Rotorua RSA president William McDonald said sadly some people did not know what Armistice Day was as most New Zealanders concentrated on Anzac Day.

"We need to perpetuate the memory and commemorate this day as part of New Zealand's rich heritage," he said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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