Remembering those who served (and died) in wars - and Gallipoli in particular - has come to define part of our national identity. World Wars I and II were a brutal, yet deeply significant chapter in our nation’s history, which had the surprising effect of uniting New Zealanders in a common cause. A great example is the 28th Maori Battalion, which in WWII brought tribes together in a way not seen before, creating a legend of their own.
The biggest day of the year for every Returned Services Association (RSA) in New Zealand is ANZAC Day, and Avondale RSA is no exception. Organising the event is a big job. It includes pre and post catering at the club, the march to Memorial Park and back, and the actual ceremony of remembrance itself.
Forming in the carpark behind the RSA on Rosebank Road, the parade will be led by the Nafanua Brass Band, down the street and left along Great North Road through the Avondale shops, finishing at Memorial Park, opposite the Hollywood Cinema.
The ceremony will include songs, a message from Pastor Edmonds Namburi, a short address from a New Zealand Defence Force representative, and speeches from Avondale College Head Girl and Boy.
Following the Last Post lament, a minute’s silence will be observed in acknowledgement of those who died. The National Anthem follows, then the parade will re-form to march back to Avondale RSA for the special ANZAC Day lunch.
Everyone is welcome to come to the clubrooms and enjoy a drink, perhaps while reflecting on the meaning of this special day that brings us together as a nation. The club also has a dedicated memorabilia room which is well worth a visit.
Editor’s note: In light of the recent shootings in Christchurch we are aware that the notion of ‘war’ is potentially a sensitive issue to many. However, let us not lose sight of our heritage. Let us continue to honour those brave souls who fought and died for the freedom we now are blessed with. Lest we forget.