Michael Woodhouse, Janine, Lady Mateparae and
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae at the Lone Pine
Commemoration yesterday. Photo supplied.
Minister of Veterans' Affairs Michael Woodhouse has
discovered an unknown family link to the Gallipoli campaign
while on the peninsula for Anzac Day commemorations.
The Dunedin list MP came across the name F. Woodhouse on the
Hill 60 Memorial, one of four on the peninsula that
commemorate New Zealanders killed in the campaign.
Mr Woodhouse checked with Archives New Zealand online and
found Trooper Frank Woodhouse, of the Otago Mounted Rifles,
was his great-uncle.
''He was from Alexandra ...'' Mr Woodhouse said from
Gallipoli last night.
Because he had believed he had no family that took part in
the campaign, ''you could have knocked me over with a
feather'' following the discovery, he said.
''It was a profound experience and I do feel a little more
''There was even a photo of him. He looked not too dissimilar
to me; he had some of the Woodhouse features.''
Mr Woodhouse said being part of the dawn service at Anzac
Cove was moving.
''I thought I understood the Anzac story but it is only in
coming here and seeing the scale of impact and loss you can
understand how it really did forge two nations.''
Yesterday's dawn service was ''pretty amazing'', Mr Woodhouse
The about 4400 people at the service were in a ''sombre
mood''. It was ''one of reflection'', he said.
The service was ''quintessentially Australian and New
''It was quite emotional, but I think the other emotion is
one of solidarity. Not only with the Australians, but the
Turkish,'' he said.
''The conflict and the sheer scale of loss gives way to a
really strong sense of fraternity between the countries.
''It's almost unique. It's not often that one's enemy becomes
such a firm friend.''
He described the Turks as ''tremendous hosts'' and said his
meetings with members of the Turkish Government and
Australia's Veterans' Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson
regarding next year's commemorations were ''very fruitful''.
He had discussed the possibility of further commemorative
events on August 6 and 8 for those who had missed out in the
ticket ballot to attend next year's Anzac Day events.
''We have made really good progress,'' he said.