Hamilton welcomes Ieper delegation


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20 April 2007

Hamilton's ANZAC Day celebrations continue to take shape as the visiting delegation from Ieper, Belgium arrives in the city tomorrow [Saturday, 21 April].

The four-person delegation comprises Mayor of Ieper Luc Dehaene, Chairman of the Last Post Association Benoit Mottrie and two buglers from the Last Post Association, Mr Raf Decombel and Mr Rik Vandekerckhove. Hamilton mayor Michael Redman will greet and host the delegation at an evening function held at Waikato Museum on Sunday [22 April].

The Ieper delegates will play a central role in Hamilton's 10am civic ANZAC Day ceremony at Memorial Park which recreates the Belgium Menin Gate ceremony. The visiting buglers from the Last Post Association will sound the Call to Attention, Last Post and Reveille during the ceremony and Mr Dehaene will join Mr Redman in laying the Civic wreath at a symbolic replica cross. Hamilton City Councillor Peter Bos, who initiated and drove the Ieper delegation's visit, together with Mr Mottire will lay a wreath on the city Cenotaph.

Prior to ANZAC Day, the delegation has a sightseeing itinerary including attending Waikato Stadium to see the Chiefs vs. the Sharks on Saturday [21 April] and a powhiri welcome and visit to The New Zealand Army National Marae and Museum.

Hamilton City Councillor Peter Bos, who proposed and drove the Ieper delegation's visit, says the delegation's presence in Hamilton and participation in local ANZAC Day celebrations is a significant occasion for the city and an ideal opportunity to express commemoration.

"It's a great pleasure to welcome the visiting Ieper delegation to Hamilton. This ANZAC Day, we decided to merge our tribute to soldiers who fought and fell in warfare with recognition of those in Europe who remember and honour our fallen. The steadfast tributes to our NZ soldiers shown through the Menin Gate ceremony makes Ieper a fitting representative of the many cities and towns across Europe who pay unerring acknowledgment to our soldiers' service and memory.

"We look forward to having our visiting delegates from Ieper share in our ANZAC Day celebrations and invite all Hamiltonians to join us on the day to experience the Menin Gate ceremony re-creation and pay thanks both to our soldiers and to those who continue to honour them."

NAME: Lisa Pemberton
DESIGNATION: Civic Events Co-ordinator
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6977
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6979
NAME: Naomi Reynolds
DESIGNATION: Communication Advisor
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6726
MOBILE: 027 413 3448
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6761
Page reviewed: 20 Apr 2007 12:00am