The centenary of Armistice Day (Sunday 11 November) will begin with a service to honour and remember those who fought in World War I.

The commemoration service will take place at the cenotaph in Government Gardens, officiated by Reverend Tom Poata.

Following the service a range of family activities and entertainment will be provided to mark the end of the war and to celebrate peace.

This fun day for families aims to replicate the celebrations 100 years ago when news of the Armistice was announced in New Zealand.


People celebrated enthusiastically in cities and towns across the country: bells rang, sirens sounded and children banged on kerosene tin drums.

Communities came together, speeches were made and songs sung.

The Rotorua District World WW100 Commemorations Committee has overseen the planning of this event which comes at the end of four years of commemorations around WWI.

The committee is made up of representatives from the RSA, Te Arawa Returned Services League, Rotorua Lakes Council, the Ngāti Whakaue Education Endowment Trust, the 28th Māori Battalion B Company Trust, Children of Gallipoli Veterans, Rotorua Museum, Rotorua Boys' High School, the Rotorua District Cadet Unit, the Rotorua Menz Shed and media.

The committee has been chaired by mayor Steve Chadwick, who is looking forward to the day of commemorations and celebrations.

"This is a day to honour those who fought, and to celebrate peace that the end of the war brought. It is a chance for people from all over the community to come together to remember and remember this special day in history", Chadwick said.

The afternoon celebrations will include a wide range of musical performances including brass bands, wartime tunes, pipe bands and Racco drumming.

A parade of nations, showcasing more than 15 countries, will represent Rotorua's multi-cultural community.


Three special donkeys will be there for children to pet and ride.

Flynn, Pedro and Jessie are commemorating the largely unsung heroes of World War I, in which donkeys played a huge role in transporting supplies and injured soldiers.

These resourceful animals were often loaded with three times their own body weight and would travel at a trot, often under fire, for up to 16 hours a day.

War time animals are also celebrated in fun shows by the Travelling Tuataras that will be held in Te Rūnanga Tea House.

The interactive shows will explore the songs and stories from the end of the World War I, suitable for children and adults alike.

Old school games. Photo / Supplied
Old school games. Photo / Supplied

Children will enjoy the free crafts in the Children's Art House and have fun competing in the old school games.

Western Heights Community Association are hosting the games which will include wheelbarrow races, hula hoops, egg and spoon races, double-Dutch skipping, three-legged and sack races.

The recently-launched Touched by War book will be available, with funds raised from sales of this collection of 40 local war-time memories going to the veteran Poppy Fund.

Families are invited to bring a picnic or enjoy snacks from the food trucks. Casual seating areas will be provided alongside live music throughout the afternoon.

Afternoon tea will be on sale at the Blue Baths and visitors are invited to attend A Rotorua History of Armistice presentation by Rotorua Library.

Rotorua District Field of Remembrance and Cenotaph. Photo / Supplied
Rotorua District Field of Remembrance and Cenotaph. Photo / Supplied