A parade along Dannevirke's High St marked the start of yesterday's civic service to commemorate Anzac Day.

On reaching the Dannevirke Domain Dannevirke and Districts RSA president Major (Rtd) Roly Ellis welcomed a crowd of all ages to the ceremony.

A prayer and a reading were given by Dannevirke and Districts RSA chaplain Ron Ashford. In his reading he said Anzac Day was not a celebration of wars won or battles lost but it was a time to remember those who did not return, or suffered loss of limb or disability and to grieve with their families.

He said while April 25 marked the landing of troops at Gallipoli, Anzac Day was also a time to honour all who fought in both World Wars, in Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.


The prayer was one of thanksgiving and for peace in our world.

Tararua mayor Tracy Collis then read a prayer that was written by Australian Vietnam veteran Lachlan Irvine called Welcome Home (It's Never too Late). Collis was later thanked by a Vietnam veteran for reading the poem, telling her it had very special meaning to him.

The Dannevirke Brass Band then played the hymn Abide with Me.

As Dannevirke Highland Pipe Band lone piper Harvey Sattrup played the lament Hector the Hero a gentle rain fell, adding poignancy to the occasion.

Guest speaker was Lieutenant Tom Merrilees, 2IC of 1st Battalion of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment who said there were three aspects to his speech - the commemorative aspect, the Anzac name and the legacy.

He said the Gallipoli landing in 1915 was not the first time New Zealand troops had been to war.

"They had previously fought on both sides in the New Zealand Wars between 1845 and 1872 and the Boar War between 1899 and 1902."

But he said it was the sheer scale of casualties and injuries that resulted from the Gallipoli campaign - a total of 8500 that made the date so important.


While it was a battle that was lost Anzac Day was a time to honour those who died. .
He said it was also a day that marked a gathering of veterans, their families and communities and for honouring forebears.

The legacy of the Anzac was marked by their characteristics of team-work, self-sacrifice, camaraderie, discipline, initiative, respect and wry humour.

Wreaths were then laid by a large cross-section of the community who were introduced by Major (Rtd) Denis Tatere.

Readings were given by Dannevirke High School students Joshua Eggleton and Jorgia Boblea, and Mulachi Hauraki and Charlie Scotson of Totara College.

The Last Post and Reveille, played by Pirran Kendall of Dannevirke Brass Band, closed the ceremony.