A small gathering at Kaitaia's cenotaph stood in silence, heads bowed, at 11am on Sunday. And then the town's fire siren broke the silence.

That was the signal for all sorts of noise, replicating, to a small degree perhaps, the celebrations that erupted when the armistice that ended World War I took effect at 11am on November 11, 1918.

A number of revving motorcycles made the biggest contribution in Kaitaia, although RSA president Angel Erstich did her bit too with a party blower.

Armistice Day in Kaitaia. Manaakitia Hoepo reads the names of the fallen from Kaitaia and the Mangonui County.
Armistice Day in Kaitaia. Manaakitia Hoepo reads the names of the fallen from Kaitaia and the Mangonui County.

Chaplain Graeme Baucke led the short service, praying that the sacrifices made by so many would not be in vain, and would not be needed in the future.

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New Zealand's contribution to the Great War, almost 100,000 soldiers, 18,277 of whom lost their lives, included 2200 Maori and 500 Pacific Island volunteers, he said.

Eleven New Zealanders won the Victoria Cross, with five more for those who served with Australian and Imperial forces.

LAC Micaela Travers at Kaitaia's Armistice Day service.
LAC Micaela Travers at Kaitaia's Armistice Day service.

The names of those who fell were recorded on some 500 monuments around the country.
He also noted that New Zealand contributed some 10,000 horses, only four of which returned. (Many that survived were shot when they were no longer needed).

The commemoration also included reading the names of the fallen from Kaitaia and the Mangonui County by members of the Kaitaia College senior council in the atrium at Te Ahu. Mr Baucke told the earlier service that those who gave their lives should not be remembered only on special occasions.

"Every time you see a poppy, or hear the word Anzac, remember a soldier, and say that we are grateful," he said.