A QUEENSTOWN dawn service to mark Anzac Day tomorrow will be held for the second year running after it was a major success last year.
The Queenstown Returned and Services’ Association, which has traditionally held a later service after 9am, trialled a dawn ceremony at 6.45am last year after growing calls for one from locals and visitors.
It attracted more than 800 people to Queenstown’s lakefront Memorial Gates – and RSA branch president Dave Geddes says it’s a no-brainer to do it again this year.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout. We look forward to continuing support.
“We’ve had huge support, right through the community from younger through to very youngest so it’s truly become a community event which everyone has taken ownership of which is great.”
A brief 20-minute service will be held as dawn breaks and the traditional parade from the gates to the Memorial Centre will follow at 9.15am.
Queenstown Lakes mayor Vanessa van Uden is the guest speaker at the centre service kicking off at 10am.
Geddes says the Wellington-based consul-general from the Australian High Commission, Peter Sams, will again be in attendance as will a contingent of Royal Australian Air Force servicemen.
A group of about 15 to 20 from across the ditch have been based locally with three jet aircraft after last weekend’s Warbirds over Wanaka. Geddes says it’s a significant year for Anzac Day – which recalls the bloody Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War 1 as well as all those affected by war. It’s 100 years since it began in 1914.
Queenstown will mark the centenary next year whilst rolling commemorations will be ongoing during the next five years marking significant battles.
Nationally, small white crosses for the roughly 18,000 New Zealand serviceman who died in World War 1 will later be placed in prominent locations throughout the country – 82 will be displayed in Queenstown to remind people of the community’s huge sacrifice.
ANZAC SERVICES IN THE WAKATIPU
Anzac Day dawn service
Where: Memorial Gates, Queenstown
When: Tomorrow, 6.45am
Anzac Day march
Where: From Memorial Gates to Memorial Centre
When: Tomorrow, leaves 9.15am
Anzac Day service
Where: Memorial Centre
When: Tomorrow, 10am
Anzac Day service
Where: Athenaeum Hall, Arrowtown
When: Tomorrow, 10.30am, followed by march to Soldiers Hill for wreath-laying