The bells of St Mary's Church in Upokongaro were rung with such gusto for Armistice Day that Susanna Norris worried about the strength of the bell tower.
She and others contacted past and present residents, to invite them to a special service on Sunday, at the Whanganui River settlement. Many came.
"What I liked about it was that the whole community came together. There was the school, the teachers, locals and past residents and family members of early settlers."
They started with a cup of tea and home baking at Upokongaro School. Then piper Dillon Coffin led the way to St Mary's Church, where memorial roses were in bloom and descendants of early settlers laid flowers on graves and a memorial tree was planted.
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There was two minutes' silence at 11am, followed by the bell ringing. About 70 people sat in the church, with the rest outside under a gazebo, following the service through a sound system.
In the church 12 children from the school sang A Beautiful Soldier, and Jayne Workman read her winning piece, which was based on letters to soldiers written by a Whanganui woman. Norris read an excerpt from her grandmother Annie's diary, written in London on Armistice Day in 1918.
It described the jubilation outside Buckingham Palace when the war ended, but also the tears of soldiers in hospital, men who had been blinded or badly disfigured in the fighting.
"As well as joy and jubilation there were an awful lot of broken hearts around."
The service was taken by Archdeacon Stuart Goodin, and ended with the playing of The Last Post, followed by the final notes of The Rouse.
Then people went to the Avoca Hotel for lunch, and carried on renewing ties.
"Some hadn't seen each other since they were at school," Norris said.