The Royal New Zealand Air Force will mark its first Anzac Day since Bay of Islands Airport became the ceremonial base for its No.6 helicopter squadron with a fly-over of Kerikeri's civic service.

The fly-over, by a Kaman SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopter, will take place at 11am on April 25, during a service on Kerikeri Domain.

The civic service, and the dawn service at the RSA earlier in the day, will also be attended by high-ranking officers from the squadron in a sign of the event's significance.

In much the same way that every naval vessel has a ceremonial home port, late last year the Air Force asked if it could use Bay of Islands Airport as its symbolic base for No.6 Squadron.


The squadron has eight Seasprite helicopters which operate from the Royal New Zealand Navy vessels Te Kaha, Te Mana, Canterbury, Otago and Wellington.

Kerikeri airport was chosen because it is often used by No.6 Squadron as a staging point and training location, and also because of the navy's historic ties to nearby Waitangi.

Kerikeri's civic service will start at 10.30am and be led by Rev Pam Harrison-Boyd.

Earlier in the day, starting at 5.45am, the RSA will host its last ever dawn service at its Cobham Rd clubrooms.

Members will gather at the rear of the complex and march to the cenotaph at the front for a 6am start.

Organiser Frank Lewis said the main speaker would be Northland MP Matt King, with poems recited by students from Kerikeri High and Springbank schools.

Lieutenant Commander Alex Trotter, of No.6 Squadron, would give an address on behalf of the Defence Force, with Flight Lieutenant Kerryn Dryden laying the wreath.

The Kerikeri RSA will close its doors for good the following night, on April 26.


Lewis said it was not yet clear where next year's dawn service would be held. Discussions were under way to find a new home for the cenotaph.