Thursday, April 18, 2024

Phil Goff: Auckland brings Anzac Day home

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Anzac Day initiatives in Auckland – some virtual, some at home, some shining light on our city landmarks – will enable communities to keep safe in their bubbles while reflecting on our servicemen and servicewomen, past and present, and honouring their courage and self-sacrifice in serving our country.

 “This year, as every year, New Zealanders will take time on Anzac Day to reflect on the sacrifice made by earlier generations of Kiwis who gave their lives at war in the service of their nation,” Mayor Phil Goff said.

 “April 25 is a date we commemorate with a sense of emotion and gratitude for their sacrifice. Sadly, this year, the nature of our commemorations will be different.

 “The decision to cancel parades and services this year for the first time since Anzac Day services began in 1916 was a difficult one, but unfortunately necessary because of the Covid-19 crisis.

 “However, initiatives in Auckland will enable our communities to stay safe from the transmission of Covid-19 while paying tribute to those who have served and those who continue to serve our country in international conflicts,” he said.

 Four initiatives taking place in the Auckland region are:

  • ‘Stand At Dawn’ – led by the RSA and New Zealand Defence Force
  •  Teddy bears wearing Anzac Day poppies in windows
  • Four city landmarks lighting up in poppy-red Digital poppies with Auckland War Memorial Museum
  •  Auckland’s Anzac Day commemorative activity includes:

Anzac Day to be commemorated on the front porch

Stand together, apart.

The call has come from across the Tasman to ‘Stand At Dawn’ on Anzac Day.

The Returned and Services Association (RSA) and the New Zealand Defence Force are responding to the call with New Zealand’s Stand At Dawn at 6am on Anzac Day.

 They are asking Kiwis to join with our Australian friends to commemorate Anzac Day while staying safely in our bubbles in the doorway, front porch, window or balcony.

At 6 am, a virtual Anzac Day service will begin on Radio NZ National, bringing New Zealander’s elements of a traditional Anzac Day service including the Last Post.

 Those who join Stand At Dawn are asked to listen live on their phones/devices.

 Graham Gibson District President of the Auckland RSAs says: “We will be delighted if people stand together in their bubbles at home to pay tribute to our fallen as the sun comes up. We urge everyone to stay at home, away from the street and observe physical distancing.”

 “I know Kiwis will wholeheartedly pay tribute to our men and women who served and sacrificed. From the New Zealand Wars in the 1800s to those who died in Afghanistan, we will remember them,” he says.

Teddies wear poppies this Anzac Day

Teddy bears in windows have become a beacon of unity in our neighbourhoods.

For Anzac Day, Auckland Council has asked families if they would like to make a poppy for the teddy bears to wear on their lapel, or dress the window itself in something red.

In the week before and after Anzac Day, bear hunts will bring poignant new meaning.

As whānau walk with children around the block and notice poppy-wearing teddies in neighbourhood windows, they might take time to tell the stories of their own war-time heroes and convey the significance of this day for New Zealand.

 To help explain what the red poppy means, here’s an excerpt from the RSA website‘The use of the red poppy – the Flanders’ Poppy – as a symbol of remembrance derives from the fact that the poppy was the first plant to re-emerge from the churned-up soil of soldiers’ graves during the First World War.’

 Share a photo of your Anzac bear in the window on Instagram: #AnzacBearAKL.

 Landmarks light up to commemorate our heroes

 It’s for our heroes – past and present.

 Vector Lights will shine poppy-red on the east side of the Auckland Harbour Bridge (city facing) from 7.30pm until midnight from Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 April to commemorate Anzac Day. Te Ara I Whiti – The Lightpath will light up on those evenings also.

Auckland War Memorial Museum will shine in a uniform display of red light from dusk Friday 24 until dawn Sunday 26 April as a commemorative tribute to this important day.

 And all four landmarks – the east side of the bridge, Lightpath, museum and SkyTower – will light up in unison from 3am until 7am, ushering in the dawn on Anzac Day.

 It is hoped that our hard-working essential workers will see them at dawn or in the evenings as they travel to hospitals, clinics and workplaces in the city.

 Lay a digital poppy with Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira will commemorate Anzac Day in 2020, albeit in a different way.

 The Dawn Service on the Cenotaph outside the Museum and installation of the Fields of Remembrance will not take place. However while closed to the public, the Last Post still plays daily prior to 5pm and the flags are raised at dawn and lowered at dusk.

The Museum will also mark Anzac Day by lighting up in poppy-red as a symbol of commemoration and remembrance from dusk Friday 24 April until dawn Sunday 26 April.

In absence of a physical gathering, the Museum’s Online Cenotaph will be a place for people to come together. People can lay a virtual poppy and leave messages for loved ones who have served as well as read stories about returned service people.

Auckland Museum Chief Executive Dr David Gaimster says gathering together has always been an important part of how we as a nation honour this important day in our history.

 “The commemoration will continue this year, but in a different way. We encourage Aucklanders to come together online and connect on a personal level with our rich Online Cenotaph webpage so they can honour their loved ones, New Zealand’s’ returned service personnel and fallen comrades, discover more about New Zealand’s history and involvement in WWI, WWII and later conflicts.”

 “The public can also lay a digital poppy in remembrance of a loved one. Last year over 90,000 digital poppies were laid on the Roll of Honour on the Online Cenotaph,” he says.

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