Around 30 members of the RSA women's section spent Wednesday morning binding more than 2000 poppies to sprigs of rosemary.

Long before the wreaths are laid and the rum and coffee poured at Thursday morning's Anzac Day dawn service, volunteers spend hours making sure the show runs smoothly.

"It's a lot of work getting days like Anzac Day ready," Returned and Services Association (RSA) Whanganui support advisor Wally Wallbutton says.

Following the tradition of years gone by, around 30 members of the RSA women's section spent Wednesday morning binding more than 2000 poppies to sprigs of rosemary.

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The dressed poppies were then placed at the graves of ex-servicemen and woman at Aramoho Cemetery.

Air Training Corps cadet Georgia Hiscotte, who helped lay poppies on gravestones says volunteering for Anzac Day is all about being grateful for the service of those who went to war.

Around 30 members of the RSA women's section spent Wednesday morning binding more than 2000 poppies to sprigs of rosemary. Photo/ Lewis Gardner
Around 30 members of the RSA women's section spent Wednesday morning binding more than 2000 poppies to sprigs of rosemary. Photo/ Lewis Gardner

"Part of being a cadet is helping with the cleaning graves and setting of poppies to remember those who lost, and risked their lives for New Zealand," she says.

Meanwhile, Whanganui City College military services academy director Patrick Cooney says it's important youth are involved in Anzac Day and that the older generation continues to educate them.

"If young people are not engaged with this now, as a legacy it gets forgotten."

This year marks the first Anzac Day ceremony since the RSA and Cosmopolitan Club merged into one location at Club Metro on Ridgway St and Wanganui RSA president Geoff Chowles says there's been a big effort from volunteers this year to make it come together.

"Anzac Day is obviously a very big part of our calendar, a lot of work goes into it from our organising committee, and from those helping with poppies, food, and the ceremony itself," he says.

Whangnaui City College's Temoana Nepe, Sharnie Pirihira Ngapikitanga Tepu-Caudwell, Kiah Weeks, Terauoriwa Rangiamai Marlan Marika Waiwiri and military services academy director Patrick Cooney.
Whangnaui City College's Temoana Nepe, Sharnie Pirihira Ngapikitanga Tepu-Caudwell, Kiah Weeks, Terauoriwa Rangiamai Marlan Marika Waiwiri and military services academy director Patrick Cooney.

"We've always commemorated Anzac Day together so this year there won't be much change, we'll all just be in a different building."

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Although Anzac Day commemorations are brought together every year, more help is always appreciated.

"We need lots of volunteers to continue helping out because the RSA is no longer a trading organisation, we're the RSA Whanganui Welfare Trust, which means we're run by volunteers, we're a charity, and our aim is to help ex-servicemen and current servicemen with whatever their needs may be."

Whanganui's dawn parade assembles outside Davis Library at 5.10am, followed by a march to the War Memorial Centre where the ceremony will begin at 5.30am.

This is followed by hot drinks after the service. Breakfast will then be available at Club Metro.

Other Whanganui services:

*Maxwell: 9.30am at the war memorial
*Brunswick: 10am at the war memorial
*28th Maori Battalion Service 11am: at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre

Wider region day services:

*Turakina: 10am at Turakina School
*Bulls Service at Bess World War I Horse Memorial: 9am at Flock House, 1427 Parewanui Rd, Parewanui. Follow the purple arrows from Bulls to the Bess World War I Horse Memorial in Parewanui
*Halcombe Community Day: 9am-2pm, Halcombe Memorial Hall, 77 Willoughby St