Rusty Vail, a member of New Zealand's first SAS squad, helped to illuminate a giant 13m poppy in Auckland last night, to mark Poppy Day and the upcoming World War I centennial.
Alongside Auckland's youngest army soldier, 17-year-old Private Tala Ellender-Nottage, the 86-year-old veteran projected the poppy on to the Sky Tower from the roof of the SkyCity Grand Hotel.
A poppy display will take place today down Federal St, with members of the Blues and Vodafone Warriors collecting money beneath the Sky Tower from 1pm to 3pm. Several Defence Force personnel and army vehicles will also be on site.
Mr Vail was joined in the Auckland Domain yesterday by other Kiwis who started to create what is hoped will be the world's largest poppy.
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Alia Zahran, 6, and Alyssa Rutherford, 8, were among the first to lay red metal discs with personal messages on the art installation yesterday.
The poppy will consist of 59,000 discs - one for every New Zealander killed or wounded in WWI.
Artist and creator Tony McNeight said: "I want all New Zealanders to make the poppy their own."The RSA is inviting people to visit the Domain and make a donation in exchange for a disc. Donors can write an individual message on the disc before placing it on the poppy.
Donations can be made at giantpoppy.co.nz