The quest for peace.

That's something Becky Dougherty will be urging others to remember, 100 years on from Armistice Day.

The 17-year-old Otumoetai College head prefect will speak at a special service next Sunday morning at St John's Anglican Church in Bureta.

Becky is the recipient of this year's John Gard'ner Memorial Trophy, a speech competition named after one of the church's former parishioners who was a Battle of Britain pilot and died in 2011 aged 92.


"Truly I believe nothing we've achieved from war could not have been achieved without war," the teenager told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend yesterday.

"And I think that's the ultimate message, really – the quest for peace.

"I think we're still on that quest."

However, Becky acknowledges that as a 17-year-old, her words about peace and avoiding another world war do not have the same impact as those from someone who experienced the horrors first-hand.

So she has focused her speech on decorated stretcher-bearer and soldier Ormond Burton, who served in World War I at Gallipoli and in Flanders on the Western Front.

"And then he came back and became a complete pacifist and I think that happened to a lot of people returning from the war."

Burton publicly protested World War II.

Becky, whose grandfather Frank joined the army at age 20 and served in World War II, said she feels privileged to be able to give her Armistice Day speech on November 11.


"One hundred years on it's really an opportunity to reflect and remember the loss, but also celebrate the peace of the Armistice," she said.

"As a young person I think it's really key to get involved in topics that haven't necessarily affected you directly, but you can interpret them. As a community, we need people of all ages to be speaking on topics."

Becky has been living up to that sentiment: She also spoke at an Anzac Day service this year and on Armistice Day last year.

Head of history at Otumoetai College, Phil Newton, was one of the judges for the John Gard'ner Memorial Trophy.

The school started the competition six years ago and the students research and write the speeches in their own time, outside of class.

Newton said past winners have gone on to study things like law and one now has an internship at the United Nations.

"The speech is more than just about one person, but sometimes one person allows us to explore things that touch other people's lives as well," he said.

For the Armistice centenary year, Newton said the students' brief was to "think about what's really important to remember here".

For instance, the fact that – in theory – World War I was going to be the Great War to end all wars.

"And that's what Ormond Burton tried to make it, and he was jailed for it."

Official Commemorations


Homecomings: From Tauranga to the Trenches

October 12 to November 8 - Tauranga waterfront

The stories of our soldiers who made it back to Aotearoa told in a unique exhibition, accompanying the installation of the Field of Remembrance at the Tauranga waterfront.

Field of Remembrance – Honouring Our Fallen

October 17 to November 8 – Tauranga waterfront

One hundred and nine white crosses commemorate the armistice that ended World War I. The crosses are being installed at dawn in the lead-up to Armistice Day and after all the crosses are installed, they will be relocated to Memorial Park for the official Armistice Day Centenary Service.

Armistice Centenary Service

November 11, 11am – Memorial Park, Devonport Rd

Tauranga will commemorate Armistice Day at 11am on 11 November at Memorial Park with two minutes silence, large-scale poppies painted by local children, and 109 white crosses. The service will begin with a march at 10.45am led by the Tauranga Pipe Band.

Armistice Poppy Installation

November 11 – 16, Memorial Park

There will be 320 large-scale poppies, painted by students from local intermediate schools, placed around the cenotaph at Memorial Park for the commemoration of the centenary of Armistice Day at 11am on 11 November.

Memorial Clock Unveiling and Service

November 11, Memorial Square

A service at 11am to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, including a special presentation and unveiling of a memorial clock in memory of Russell Freeland Walford, a young local man who was killed in Italy during World War II. The Walford family had the clock made and will unveil it at the service.

Armistice Day Exhibition

November 2, Western Bay Museum

A special Armistice Day exhibition opened last night and has a line-up of events with 25 original artworks.

Te Puke
Armistice Day morning service

November 11, Te Puke Citizens RSA

The service will be held under the flagpole from 11am, followed by morning tea to which everyone is invited.

Armistice Day morning service

November 11, Waihi Memorial RSA

Waihi Beach RSA is joining with Waihi RSA for a service at 11am. A bus leaves for Waihī from Waihī Beach RSA at 10.30am for anyone wanting to hop on – free.