24 April 2017
The centenary of the World War One battles at Passchendale and Messines will provide a theme for this year’s ANZAC Day services in Hamilton.
New Zealand troops served in both battles in the Belgian towns, and 2017 marks 100 years since those conflicts on the Western Front. There were an estimated 13,000 New Zealand casualties during the Western Front campaigns in World War One.
Hamilton City Council manages the city’s two annual ANZAC Day services at Memorial Park: the Dawn Service commences at 6am, followed by the Civic Service at 10am.
The Council is extending an invitation to all city residents to attend the services to remember the servicemen and women who have fought for New Zealand and the British Empire.
Two large screens will be placed in Memorial Park showing both the Dawn and Civic Services so people are able to easily see and hear the commemorations from several vantage points.
Mayor Andrew King says ANZAC Day is a special day for Hamiltonians to remember, commemorate and above all respect service people past and present.
“On ANZAC Day we honour those who have lost their lives, we honour those who were injured, we honour those who came back haunted, those at home who lost loved ones, and all who suffered,” he says.
“As Hamilton is becoming a more multicultural city, it is important to acknowledge that for those settling in New Zealand from nations affected by armed conflict, Anzac Day has a special meaning for them as well.
“It is fantastic to see more Hamilton residents attending the services each year including young families. There is always a strong sense of community as people from all walks of life stand alongside each other with a common purpose – to remember.”
The guest speakers at this year’s services are Mayor King and Shekinah Blaikie, a student from Waikato Diocesan School. Shekinah has been chosen to speak on the significance of Anzac Day for her generation. Mayor King says the city is honoured to have Ms Blaikie speaking at the services on the centenary of the battles moving to the Western Front.
This year there will be 25 horses joining the ANZAC Civic Parade (9.45am) to recognise the 10,000 horses that were sent with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force into battle. Some of the surviving horses stayed overseas and were sold or kept by the British Army, but only four horses returned to New Zealand after the war.
There will also be poppies and white crosses present on the day from the RSA and the Fields of Remembrance Trust respectively, both charities with the objective to support current and ex-serving personnel, and their families.
Attendees are invited to stay and enjoy a free hot drink and an ANZAC biscuit after the 10am service and listen to the Hamilton Brass Band. The band will play for 30 minutes giving people a chance to reflect on the events of the First World War 100 years on.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Communication Team Leader
07 838 6666
021 273 4997