Memorial Square in Katikati will be silent this Anzac Day.
The Katikati War Memorial Hall has been decorated with red poppies ready for the April 25 commemorations— but the community will not gather there to remember our fallen. We are in lockdown so this year will be different.
April 25 is one of the most important national occasions for New Zealanders and Australians. For the first time in history, the Covid-19 pandemic means traditional Anzac Day dawn and civic services across New Zealand are cancelled. But we will still commemorate our brave soldiers.
Fire brigades in Katikati, Athenree and Waihi Beach will sound their sirens at dawn when people can join the nation and "Stand at Dawn" while staying safe in our bubbles. Simply stand at your letterbox, the front door, lounge rooms, balconies, driveway or wherever you are — stand with the RSA and take a moment to remember our servicemen and women.
Western Bay Museum would usually have an exhibition to coincide with Anzac Day to support the Katikati RSA.
Museum manager Paula said she is saddened by the cancellation of Anzac Day, since it is a big day of commemorations.
"I know why it is cancelled, but I feel more sorry for those who are not able to be on parade."
She said there is no reason why people can't still commemorate in their own bubbles and go out to their gates at 6am on Saturday.
"All of Australia and all of NZ are going to be commemorating. Nourish it and do it better from home."
The postponement of the Poppy Day Appeal, the RSA's major annual welfare fundraiser, will have a significant financial impact on the organisation's ability to support service personnel and their families. Instead of making a donation for a red poppy this year, donate online at Givealittle Let's Not Forget.
Katikati Floral Art group members decorated the hall and put crosses on the Memorial Clock, gifted to the town by the Walford family in memory of Katikati-born Russell Freeland Walford.
Like many men of his age and younger, Russell left New Zealand to serve in World War II. He saw action in Egypt and Italy and was part of the 20th Armoured Regiment, New Zealand Armoured Corps.
On December 16, 1943 – Russell was killed during the Battle of Sangro River in Italy. He was 29.
We will remember them.