Queenstown RSA president David Geddes (left), Rotary Club
of Queenstown member Simon Stamers-Smith (centre) and RSA
member Bob Crosbie were among about 50 volunteers from the
RSA, Rotary and Queenstown and Frankton fire brigades who
were out in force in the resort and Frankton to collect
donations for Poppy Day yesterday, before Anzac Day on
Thursday. Photo by James Beech.
A dawn service to commemorate Anzac Day will be held by
the Queenstown Returned and Services Association (RSA) for the
first time in living memory.
The resort's second service, about mid-morning, will include
a policewoman on a horse, commemorating the huge number of
horses killed in World War 1.
President David Geddes said none of the 80 members of the
Queenstown RSA could remember the last time a dawn service
was conducted. This year's service was prompted by consistent
interest from the Wakatipu public over the past two or three
years and the attendance of two large transtasman groups,
which would swell the crowd to more than twice the usual
number in a small waterfront area.
About 350 delegates and family members were expected to
attend the BDO New Zealand and BDO Australia partners' annual
meeting and conference in Queenstown and more than 150 of
those attending were interested in attending an Anzac Day
service in the resort.
Participants of a Contiki staff reunion in the resort were
also keen to attend.
The Anzac Day dawn service will start beside the
Queenstown Memorial Gates near the waterfront of Marine Parade
at 6.45am and last 15 to 20 minutes.
Deputy Prime Minister and Clutha-Southland MP Bill English
and Australian High Commission counsellor Lucy Charlesworth,
of Wellington, would be involved, Mr Geddes said.
BDO NZ chief financial officer Rhonda Parry offered, and was
invited by the RSA, to read from the diary of her
grandfather, James Philip Guy, born in Kingston in 1888. He
enlisted in the 5th Otago Mounted Rifles and served in the
Gallipoli campaign of World War 1.
The trooper was shot on August 6, 1915, but survived and was
repatriated. Anzac Day participants will gather again at the
gates at 9am for the traditional parade of hundreds of
veterans and representatives, RSA members and supporters,
members of the emergency services and the community.
They will follow the Queenstown and Southern Lakes Highland
Pipe Band at 9.15am up closed Church St, along Camp St and up
Shotover St to the Queenstown Memorial Centre, where a
service will be held at 9.40am.
Mr Geddes said Sergeant Kate Pirovano, a Queenstown
policewoman, had asked if she could sit on a horse outside
the centre in memory of the role horses played in World War 1
- half a million horses were lost in battle in that conflict.
''It's a little bit different, but we think it's something
special and inspired from within the community,'' Mr Geddes
''We think it's a lovely addition to the day.''
Cr Cath Gilmour will represent the Queenstown Lakes District
Council. Mr English will be guest speaker at both Queenstown
and Arrowtown services.
The service was expected to include the Queenstown Primary
School Choir and readings from the head boy and girl of
Wakatipu High School, Mr Geddes said.
''We're trying to involve the wider community, in particular
the younger generations, because they are the future.''
• Arrowtown will hold its own Anzac Day Memorial Service a
little later at 11am to allow guest speaker Bill English to
arrive from the service in Queenstown.
Arrowtown RSA president John Lindsay said the service in the
village would be presided over by the Rt Rev Dr David Coles
before an expected 400 people in the Arrowtown Athenaeum
Former RSA president Rupert Iles will give the first reading.
Arrowtown School pupils Lana Stevenson and Nicholas Evans
will read and members of the Arrowtown School Choir will lead
the gathering in singing the New Zealand national anthem.
The Queenstown and Southern Lakes Highland Pipe Band will
strike up outside the hall about 11.45am and lead the parade
of an estimated 600 people to the Arrowtown Memorial on top
of the hill.