Hours of work went into restoring an M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier ahead of the Hastings Anzac parade on Sunday.
The APC was dedicated to the family of a New Zealand Armoured Corps officer after a chance encounter on social media.
When Mark Bixley was browsing a social media group, he knew he recognised the M113 Armoured Personnel vehicle in a picture which was shared.
He shared a photo he had found of a man in the same vehicle. The man in the photo turned out to be Julian "Snow" Ballance – the father of Todd Ballance who had shared the original image.
Bixley – who served 12 and a half years in the New Zealand Army Territorials as driver and commander and trained in the M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier - had been working with Shaun Moloney to restore an M113 Armoured Personnel vehicle and was looking at making it a tribute to those who served in Vietnam.
As it is the same type of vehicle that Julian Ballance – the first New Zealand Armoured Corps officer to be sent to South Vietnam – drove, Bixley asked for Todd Ballance's blessing to paint it to represent his father's vehicle.
"Vietnam vets in the past were not given the full recognition they deserved when they returned home and we think this is a great way to recognise at least one of them," Bixley said.
Moloney has been restoring military vehicles for quite a few years and has been involved in ceremonial Anzac Day duties for about 20 years.
The vehicle is on loan from the National Army Museum and Moloney said it has been a "five-year journey" to get a vehicle of this kind back to Hastings.
Restoration work involved replacing track and track pads, unseizing all locking devices, making the crew commanders stand, sorting gauge issues, painting and adding new stencils, replacing road wheels and checking/replacing bearings in all wheel stations.
Moloney completes and pays for this work and Bixley has been assisting where he can and providing his knowledge of the vehicle.
Bixley enjoyed getting in the driver's seat again after 20 years and found "it all sort of came straight back to me".
The vehicle was part of the Hastings Dawn Service and Ballance sat in the turret as guest of honour in his father's place.
It was then also part of the Maraekakaho service and will remain there on display with Moloney's other military vehicles.