With Anzac Day commemorations cancelled across the country Northlanders are being urged to Stand at Dawn on April 25 to honour the day.
Because of the Covid-19 virus lockdown, the RSA cancelled Anzac Day commemorations around the country. With older people particularly at risk from the virus - and many of them expected at Anzac Day events - services were cancelled.
But that doesn't mean the day cannot be marked by the country, with the RSA in conjunction with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), commemorating Anzac Day with a 6am virtual dawn service.
The Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association National President B J Clark said Anzac Day is one of the most important national occasions for both Australians and New Zealanders.
''Even though public Anzac Services are unable to go ahead, it does not mean that the tradition of remembering and commemorating our veterans and service personnel should be cancelled too," he said.
"Across New Zealand we want all communities to have the opportunity to Stand At Dawn on April 25 and remember both the sacrifices that have been made and continue to made by our servicemen and servicewomen who are called upon to serve New Zealand during times of war, conflict and disaster.''
As part of Stand At Dawn the RSA wants people around the country to stand at 6am on April 25, whether it be in their homes, on their driveways or gardens — subject to safe social distancing.
Whangārei RSA President Kevin Peachey said the Anzac Day Service at Whangārei was an incredibly popular and poignant occasion, with about 6500 attending last year's commemorations.
Peachey said while many would be disappointed they could not attend a dawn service this year, the Stand at Dawn campaign was a good replacement, given the circumstances.
Even though the Covid-19 alert level is expected to be downgraded from level 4 to level 3 next week, there's still social distancing rules, meaning there can be no public services.
''Coronavirus has thrown our plans into neutral, but we can still have a pretty good pseudo service through Stand At Dawn. Our veterans are very sad about not being able to have our dawn service, but they will be heartened that people will still be marking the sacrifices they, and every service person, made,'' Peachey said.
''As they stand in their own homes or driveways it will be a very poignant moment for them to know so many other people are doing the same.
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A dawn service will also be played on radio from 6am and Peachey said it would be wonderful for people taking part in Stand at Dawn to be able to listen to the service at the same time.
Tune into Radio NZ National (AM and FM frequencies), listen live on the internet or on your phone for the official dawn service broadcast commencing at 6am. Veterans are encouraged to wear their medals just as they would for the official public gathering.