Thousands to mark Anzac Day at services

Dunedin Returned and Services Association Anzac Day services convener Lieutenant-commander ...
Dunedin Returned and Services Association Anzac Day services convener Lieutenant-commander (retired) Rob Tomlinson is looking forward to smooth sailing for Anzac Day, in his third year in the role. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Anzac Day convener Lieutenant-commander (retired) Rob Tomlinson is looking forward to standing alongside thousands of Dunedin people at the dawn service to honour the service of veterans and the fallen on Anzac Day.

Last year, Anzac Day fell during the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown, and was marked by people across New Zealand, who stood at the ends of their driveways at dawn.

This year, Mr Tomlinson is hoping for a strong turnout of up to 7000 people at the cenotaph in Queens Gardens at 6.30am on April 25.

While he is a little nervous, as the commemorations will come just a week after New Zealand opens up the transtasman travel bubble with Australia, there are contingency plans in place.

"I’m hoping that, after not being able to attend the dawn service last year, people will really want to come along."

The event would also commemorate the service of the late Prince Philip, who was the Admiral of the Fleet for the Royal New Zealand Navy, Field Marshall of the New Zealand Army, and Marshall of the RNZ Air Force.

The format of the dawn service will be similar to previous years, with veterans, service personnel, cadets, schools, scouts and family members parading to the cenotaph, led by Warrant Officer Phil Witchall.

The service will start at 6.30am with two howitzer cannon shots, fired by members of the Otago Gunners Association.

Army Delivery assistant chief Colonel Kate Lee will be guest speaker at the dawn service and the event will be led by master of ceremonies Lieutenant Willy Atkinson, of the 2nd/4th Battalion, RNZ Infantry Regiment, and Padre Aaron Knotts.

Representatives of the British High Commission and the Australian High Commission, along with Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins, councillors, and other dignitaries will be present..

Dunedin RSA president Lox Kellas will recite The Ode in English, while Bayfield High School pupil Matai McGinty will recite it in te reo Maori.

Readings will be presented by representatives of Taieri College, and the Dunedin RSA Choir will sing the national anthem and musical items.

The dawn service will be followed by a posy laying ceremony at Andersons Bay cemetery at 9.30am, and then a service at Montecillo War Veterans Home at 11am, along with other services across the district.

St Paul’s Cathedral will hold its "Anzac Eve" service on Saturday, April 24, from 6pm, with a focus around the World War 1 Memorial Window. All welcome.

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