There was standing room only as hundreds of people attended Te Puke's Anzac Day commemorations.

Guest speaker, Captain Michael Doughty of the 16th Field Regiment, who was brought up in Te Puke, said it was an enormous honour to be asked to speak at his home town's commemorations.

''I am very pleased and humbled to be asked to participate - it's a wonderful experience.''

Cpt Doughty recalled the first peacetime Anzac Day commemorations 100 years ago, when people gathered to remember losses and experiences that were still raw.


''Newspapers contained many messages from grieving families commemorating losses.''

He said Te Puke was not spared.

''The names on the memorial outside this hall are not just words - they represent the tragedy of the unimaginable grief for those families.''

He said although the world is now a very different place, some things remain the same.

''In the 100 years since the end of the First World War, our nation has been transformed.

"But what has not changed is our commitment to those who have, in the past, and those who currently, serve our nation and uphold the values we hold dear.

''On this day we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defence of those values.''

Te Puke RSA president Vic Mottram thanked the dignitaries and those who attended the commemoration.


''It is pleasing to see the people of Te Puke turn out. The number of children we are getting to turn out on this day increases every year - it is so pleasing to see.''

Mottram said the number of older veterans was dwindling, saying there were just five World War II veterans at the parade.

''The numbers are getting less and less every year - but it is also pleasing to see the families wearing and displaying the medals that were so bravely won by their forebears - they have been represented today.''

He also said he would like people to reflect, not only on the men and women who served in the services during wartime, but to also remember the wives, sisters, daughters, sons, mums and dads ''left at home during those times to keep our country going - they also sacrificed a lot''.