Armistice Day, November 11, carries tremendous weight in the hearts and minds of those familiar with the personal stories of the Far North men who lost their lives fighting in World War I.
Young men like William "Billy" Edward Urwin - a brother to six who left behind a happy family life in Houhoura where he shared satisfying work as an accomplished butcher and friendly pranks with his younger brother, Fred.
While serving in Gallipoli and the Western Front, Billy, 27, kept daily diary entries.
Billy wrote about his assignments and movements, the weather, his health – including a bout of pneumonia at sea - days of recreation, cherished letters from home and countless shocking experiences.
Among his most vivid descriptions is that of "furious bombardment, a curtain of fire, thousands of shells" as described in the book, They Shall Grow Not Old: WW1 Stories of the Far North, by local author Kaye Dragicevich.
"Such details are difficult to access, as soldiers' letters home were censored - diaries are more insightful," Dragicevich said.
Billy's written words allow one to easily feel his resilience and good nature, and paint a painstakingly clear picture of his sacrifice.
On the eve of departing for overseas service, Billy's dear brother Fred received the tragic news that Billy had died.
When asked by the Kaitaia War Memorial Restoration Group to research and write this history, Dragicevich was told it was a simple book that might take a year.
She soon realised what a big topic it was and spent three years, full time, honouring the deeply meaningful stories of soldiers' lives.
"It's a taonga, really, a family treasure," she said.
The roots of this book spread far into the community.
Following the restoration and rededication of the Kaitaia War Memorial – the country's first at its unveiling in 1916 – came a history assignment at Kaitaia College.
Students researched and wrote stories about soldiers named on the memorial.
"They put a display up at Te Ahu which drew a lot of attention to Armistice Day, and that really sort of started this whole thing," Dragicevich said.
"A supportive team and the work of co-author Graeme Wilson allowed the book to come to fruition, and it was truly a community effort."
One of the most memorable stories to Dragicevich is that of Māori soldier Charles Benjamin Denny who was named after his grandfather - a prominent settler in the community involved in the establishment of Mangatete School and postmaster at Awanui.
Charlie and his brother Richard endured a harsh upbringing from a cruel father before enlisting at 19 and 22, respectively.
Charlie spent months in grim circumstances, survived several ordeals and died tragically at just 21 years of age.
"I feel like I know them a bit. I just wanted to do them proud [and help other people see that] they gave their all," Dragicevich said, audibly moved by the enormity of their sacrifice.
"They just had to do their best and they bloody well did."
Dragicevich's passion for the soldiers' stories in her book recently caught the eye of Military historian Dr Cliff Simons, who gave the book a glowing review.
"There are 115 lives commemorated in the book and each of these is told in surprising detail and with great empathy and respect," Simons said.
"Although this is a regional history, it has national significance because it tells a story that was mirrored in virtually every part of the nation.
"It's a story of young men of Māori, Dalmation and European Pākehā stock, from remote, practically still-pioneering communities in the Far North, and how they served and died in The Great War."
Asked how she felt about Simons' praise for the book, Dragicevich said she was blown away.
"I was so proud. I've always been confident with the book, but it's nice to have it acknowledged because I didn't have much of a background in army activities," she said.
"It is a unique and valuable addition to the literature about our nation's World War I experience," Simons said.
"I hope that it becomes a family heirloom in many homes throughout the Far North and further afield."
They Shall Not Grow Old: WW1 Stories of the Far North, $70, is available at Marston Moor and the Kaitaia Museum, Gloss (Mangonui), Village Books (Waipapa), Paper Plus (Kerikeri), and Gifts on Rathbone (Whangarei).
FNDC Libraries have copies and may acquire more if demand far exceeds supply.
The author will also happily send copies by post. Contact 021 084 23700 / firstname.lastname@example.org to order.