AnzacStrap

New Zealanders might not be able to commemorate Anzac Day the traditional way this year, but we're hoping you can help line the streets with poppies by putting our special Anzac poster in your window.

For the first time in history, Anzac Day dawn ceremonies will not take place this April 25, because of Covid-19 restrictions.

As a way to pay respects, New Zealanders are being urged to "never forget" from inside their bubbles by placing images of poppies in their windows, including a special-edition poster from Herald artist and cartoonist Rod Emmerson, published in today's Herald and available to download below.

New Zealanders are also being asked to unite at 6am on Saturday at their letterboxes, front doors and living rooms. Veterans are encouraged to wear their medals on Anzac Day just as they would for official public Anzac Day gatherings.

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Emmerson said the inspiration for his image came from an Anzac Day illustration four years ago, where he depicted a soldier walking into battlefield along with the Māori whakataukī (proverb): "Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua", or "The people fade from view but the land remains".

"That image has been one of my favourites, so I wanted to use that as a basis and provide depth, do something spiritual and meaningful, rather than just a poppy."

Download a copy of Rod Emmerson's poppy poster here

Emmerson, originally from Australia, said it was an "important role" to provide illustrations for Anzac Day, which he'd been doing for about 30 years.

"It is about conveying the empathy we all have for those who gave their lives so we can sleep at night."

A special edition image by Herald illustrator Rod Emmerson. Image / Rod Emmerson
A special edition image by Herald illustrator Rod Emmerson. Image / Rod Emmerson

On a personal level, it was also recognising the sacrifices his father, uncles and grandfathers made in the wars.

"As each new generation comes they need to be reminded what war really is about, the massive loss of life, and the sacrifices."

Returned and Services' Association president BJ Clark said the RSA greatly appreciated the support for "virtual services" this Anzac Day.

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The virtual campaign #StandAtDawn encourages households to gather at their door or gate at 6am, and has the slogan: "Apart, but together as one".

"It will be disappointing not going to the service, but I am looking forward to walking to my gate on Saturday morning, and seeing people in my neighbourhood out with candles or torches, and poppies on their fences or in their windows."

Four of Auckland's landmarks will be lit up in poppy red for Anzac Day, including the Harbour Bridge. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Four of Auckland's landmarks will be lit up in poppy red for Anzac Day, including the Harbour Bridge. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The national Poppy Day appeal was also postponed this year for the first time since 1992, which Clark said could have "huge financial consequences".

The RSA usually collected between $1.5 million and $2m, but was expecting much less this year because of the appeal cancellation and economic consequences of Covid-19.

"We rely on those funds to support our veterans, young and old, and their families," Clark said. "Many of our branches only collect enough to go year to year, and we could get to the point their coffers are empty."

Four of Auckland's landmarks will be lit up in poppy red for Anzac Day, including Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Four of Auckland's landmarks will be lit up in poppy red for Anzac Day, including Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo / Brett Phibbs

In light of the shortfall, the country's largest philanthropic entity, Perpetual Guardian, has
started a Givealittle page, contributing $25,000 from its own members and a further $1500 from the company itself.

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"The work the RSA does is incredibly important, so we are very happy to be involved with this," said Liz Gibbs, head of philanthropy at Perpetual Guardian.

Anzac Day

• To make a donation to the RSA visit this Givealittle page

• Join us for the virtual Anzac Day Dawn Service from 5.45am on Saturday at nzherald.co.nz or Newstalk ZB

• For more ideas on how to commemorate Anzac Day virtually, visit the Stand At Dawn website