It first commemorated a battle that happened over 100 years ago, but it is still the young people who provide the highlight of Anzac Day for Te Puke Community Board chairman Peter Miller.

Mr Miller welcomed returned service personnel, guests and members of the public to yesterday's Te Puke Citizens RSA Club organised Anzac Day Parade and Commemoration at Te Puke Memorial Hall. He introduced Te Puke Intermediate School head students Mia-Luisa Brown and George Unsworth, and Te Puke High School head students Isaac Gunson and Erika Lilley, who all spoke.

Mia-Luisa told the story of school teacher and Maori All Black Captain Pirimi Tahiwi, who fought at Gallipoli and was shot in the neck at the battle of Sari Bair. He survived the war and returned to New Zealand.

George recited In Flanders Fields by John McCrae.


Erika spoke of Gallipoli, of the sacrifices made, of those New Zealanders who had who served in conflicts around the world.

She spoke of her gratitude for the men and women who had served and fought in wars and conflicts and the hardships and perils that those who had not experienced them could not comprehend.

"It is important to pay my respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and I am grateful for that," she said.

To try and make sure such conflicts do not happen again, she said, we are now the guardians of peace.

Isaac told how a soldier had shielded his great-grandmother from the blast of a grenade, dying in the process.

"If he had not chosen to make that sacrifice to save a woman he had never met before, I would not be here talking to you today," he said.

Mr Miller said he was pleased to hear the "passion of our young students who came to deliver their addresses".

"The most positive thing is the youngsters who speak and I am proud of all our young generation. They are schooled up so well, their teachers do such a good job and it's always one of the highlights for me."

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber was the guest speaker at the commemoration, using the three words lest we forget to open his address.

"Three words that show we are committed to remember those who have fought and those who died fighting for their freedom," he said.

"One of our military leaders from the Hauraki Regiment, at an Anzac Day ceremony I attended as a military cadet in the sixties, said that for him lest we forget speaks about what this day - Anzac Day - is truly meant to symbolise, that we will never forget our history."

He spoke about the recent 150th anniversary of Te Werenga - the Bush Campaign - when Ngati Ranginui Maori villages, people and crops between Oropi and Whakamarama were destroyed.

"I often ponder what the outcome of that campaign might have been if the British were armed with patu and taiaha and Maori were armed with guns and cannon.

"And so once again i ask you to recall the words of the 1960s military leader, lest we forget, symbolising that we should never forget our history, and I trust that for all of us gathered here today our memories include Te Werenga".

Bugler Peter Cranson played the Last Post outside the Memorial Hall before the laying of the wreaths.