Taradale will have one of its biggest Anzac Day commemorations when about 1500 students gather at the former borough's memorial clock tower on Friday.

The service will start at 11am on April 15, the last day of the school's 2016 first term. As it happens, that's Poppy Day.

Anzac Day is 10 days later, during the school holidays.

It had been promoted by the Taradale RSA, but president and Vietnam War veteran Peter Grant said it was being organised by students, with a committee comprising two prefects from Taradale High School and two from Tamatea High School.


Students from the two intermediate schools, and those from about 12 other schools throughout the district, are expected - including students arriving from country schools Patoka, Puketapu, Pakowhai and Meeanee.

Some will have taken part in a "Spirit of Anzac" speech competition. The intermediate school section winner, Noah Smith of Tamatea Intermediate, will be the guest speaker at the the commemoration.

The numbers at the service will necessitate the closing of the clock tower entrances to Avondale and Neave Rds, but traffic on major thoroughfare Gloucester St is not expected to be interrupted.

Mr Grant said the RSA was encouraging involvement in organising and taking part in Anzac Day events to help ensure the annual tributes to those who served the country survive and flourish, as the number of veterans become fewer and fewer.

The last survivor of the 100,000 New Zealanders who fought in World War I was Hawke's Bay man Bright Williams, who died in 2003.

The youngest of about 140,000 New Zealanders who served in WWII are now aged over 90.

While returned services personnel include those from more recent campaigns, including the Afghanistan Reconstruction Project, it's estimated that two-thirds of RSA club members are not veterans.

Meanwhile, Havelock North schools won't be going a second round with the multi-school celebration they held on the eve of Anzac Day last year, when about 2500 students from eight schools in the area took part in a centenary commemoration.

Havelock North High School principal Greg Fenton said that despite Anzac Day falling within the school holidays, the school would be represented at the traditional Havelock North wreath-laying service by its Head Boy and Head Girl. The school will hold its own service on the first Thursday of the second term.