He’s almost 93 now, but proud Second World War veteran Alan Maze will still march at least some of the way in Queenstown’s Anzac Day parade on Saturday.
The retired farmer has never missed the resort’s annual commemorations since moving to Frankton from Balclutha 26 years ago.
“My older brother Gordon was killed in Italy during the war and I respect those who gave their lives for our freedom,” says Maze. “I might not be able to walk as far as I used to but I’ll still be there on Saturday joining in.”
Maze served with the 27 New Zealand (Machine Gun) Battalion and was stationed in the Pacific Islands.
“We were there to keep the Japanese in line,” he explains. “I think they made me a machine gunner because I was good at shooting rabbits and deer.”
When the war ended in 1945, he also spent a year in Japan with the occupation forces.
Maze has been married to wife Muriel for 63 years and they have three kids, four grandchildren and five great-grandkids.
He’s encouraged by increasing numbers of young Kiwis turning out in recent times to pay their respects on Anzac
“I like to be there to meet those old cobbers of mine who are still alive, have a drink with them afterwards and swap a few stories.
“But it’s also nice to see so many youngsters in Queenstown turning up in the last few years in particular. We get a lot of support from them.”
Queenstown – Saturday 25th April
9.15am Anzac Day parade assembles at Memorial Gates
9.30am March to Memorial Hall along Church Street, Camp St, Shotover St, Memorial St
10am Service starts in Memorial Hall with guest speaker Father Tony Harrison – Catholic parish priest and chaplain of the 4th Otago-Southland Battalion – followed by Remembrance Ceremony outside hall
11am Morning tea in Memorial Hall Arrowtown
Arrowtown – Saturday 25th April
10.15am RSA veterans and members assemble outside Arrowtown Hall
10.30am Service starts in Arrowtown Hall with guest speaker, Queenstown
Lakes District Council deputy mayor John S. Wilson
11.15am March to Memorial Hill for Remembrance Ceremony
11.30am Light lunch at Arrowtown Bowling Club