Service ‘very special’ to be a part of

Anzac Day convener Lieutenant RNZNVR Peter Gee, now in his second year in the role, is looking...
Anzac Day convener Lieutenant RNZNVR Peter Gee, now in his second year in the role, is looking forward to welcoming thousands of locals to the dawn service at the cenotaph in Queen’s Gardens. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Anzac Day convener Lieutenant RNZNVR Peter Gee is honoured to have the chance to stand alongside thousands of local people during the dawn service to honour and remember those who have served.

Lt Gee draws on the skills gained during his long career in the operations branch of the Royal New Zealand Navy for the role, which involves co-ordinating representatives of uniformed forces, councils, MPs and local organisations.

Based at naval reserve headquarters HMNZS Toroa, Lt Gee will be supported by Royal NZ Navy Chief Petty Officer Tina Scadden, who will take on organising the Andersons Bay Cemetery posy laying and Montecillo services, while he oversees the dawn service at the cenotaph in Queen’s Gardens.

"These are very special services to be part of, so I’m hoping for a good turnout this year," Lt Gee said.

This year’s Anzac Day will mark the 109th anniversary of the disastrous Gallipoli landings, on April 25, 1915.

In his 40-year career with the NZ Navy, based mostly at Devonport, Lt Gee has travelled the world, including visits to the Antarctic, the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia. Last year, he spent six months deployed in the Middle East.

"It’s a great life, always interesting and varied — I have been able to go to so many amazing places," Lt Gee said.

After leaving the Navy in 2012, then Warrant Officer Gee and his wife Helen decided to leave Auckland and move to Dunedin, where he served as a Navy reservist, coxswain at HMNZS Toroa, and then back to the reserves. He now does project work for the navy on a part-time basis.

Having been involved in Anzac Day commemorations for many years, Lt Gee is pleased to be stepping up again as convener.

"There is a very experienced team of people involved in putting together the Anzac Day commemorations, so I see my role as mainly co-ordinating things," he said.

The Anzac Day Dawn Service will begin with a parade of veterans on to the cenotaph grounds at Queens Gardens at 6.10am, before the firing of a Howitzer gun salute at 6.30am to mark the start of the service.

The service will be led by chaplain Leah Graefe and will be attended by representatives of the New Zealand, Australian and United Kingdom governments, Dunedin City Council and Dunedin RSA. Keynote speaker will be NZ Army land component commander Brigadier Matthew Weston.

The Dunedin RSA Choir, Kaikorai Metropolitan Brass and Dunedin Pipe Band will lead national anthems and hymns.

The Ode will be read in te reo Maori and English by Emeritus Prof John Broughton and RSA president squadron leader Kevin Weir, and there will be readings by Bayfield High School head boy and girl.

The dawn service will be followed by a cup of tea at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.

Other Anzac Day services in Dunedin will include the posy laying ceremony and service at Andersons Bay Cemetery at 9.30am, an 11am service at Montecillo Veterans Home and Hospital and a 1pm service at the University of Otago clocktower.

The Dunedin RSA Choir will present its Anzac Revue concert from 7pm at Knox Church.

An Eve of Anzac Day Service will be held on Wednesday evening, April 24, from 6pm at St Paul’s Cathedral.