The first Anzac Day service at the new Pāpāmoa Memorial drew a strong crowd under a serene blue sky.

Pāpāmoa Beach Rd near the cenotaph was lined with cars as hundreds of people gathered on top of the hill in front of the shimmering ocean.

The far away roar of waves crashing on the shore hummed underneath the chatter of the crowd ahead of the service.

Mount Maunganui RSA president and master of ceremonies Bill Newell opened the ceremony and said he was proud to speak at the first Pāpāmoa service.


A sign language interpreter stood next to the speakers, translating their words into sign language.

Mount Maunganui College head girl Ella Carlsen and head boy Louis Donovan both acted as the keynote speakers at the event.

Ella opened with a mihi acknowledging those present and those who gave their lives.

Louis took to the microphone after her and spoke of the importance of the younger generation continuing to observe Anzac Day.

The 17-year-old said he was the same age as some of the soldiers who went to fight.

He said it was vital that young people, who reaped the rewards of the soldiers' sacrifices, understood the significance of the "cause for freedom" as most of them knew nothing about the horrors of war.

"I can only imagine the thoughts that would have been going through their and their families' heads as they were shipped overseas."

Royal New Zealand Navy chief petty officer Graham Frost shared his experience of visiting Gallipoli and walking on the same ground his great-grandfather had trod during the war.


He spoke of the psychological impact of going to war and the struggles for soldiers to readjust to normal life.

Frost encouraged those gathered to reflect on what Anzac Day meant to them.

Reverend Marie Gilpin spoke and read scripture, saying that the day was a time to remember those who acted with bravery and prayed that their sacrifice was not in vain.

After the speakers finished, the sound of a bagpipe soared through the air as wreaths were laid.

The keening gave way to one minute of silence, the abrupt switch to silence almost deafening.

After The Last Post was played, Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Garin Golding held a Commemoration to the Fallen and two military planes flew over the crowd before the service concluded.

Mount Maunganui RSA club support manager Peter Moss, who buzzed around, to ensure the event ran smoothly, said he was proud to be involved with the "very special event".

Ngāi Tamarāwaho hapū sp9kesman Buddy Mikaere said the memorial reflects the local community's - both Pākehā and Māori - desire to have a special place to remember the sacrifices made to preserve our way of life.

"As with the cenotaph at the Mount main beach, the setting gives the memorial a very special beachside setting recalling the Anzac Cove setting of the landings at Gallipoli."

He thanked the many who worked to get the memorial and flag pole erected, including the generosity of the sponsors.