Record numbers turned out in Wakatipu yesterday to mark Anzac Day, beginning with a dawn service in Queenstown.
There was barely a breath of wind during the service, led by Queenstown Returned and Services Association president Lyall McGregor.
Some estimated about 2000 gathered for the short service at the Queenstown War Memorial, which began at 6.45am.
Speakers included High Commission third secretary Emma Goodwin, who said it was “heartening” to see so many people attend the 100th anniversary of the first Anzac Day.
“The white rows of crosses are a powerful reminder of those who paid the supreme sacrifice.
“Today, we will reflect on how fortunate we are to live in this wonderful country … the true meaning of mateship [and] ties that bind us across the Tasman.”
Thousands more attended the civil service in Arrowtown, which began at 10.30am.
However, due to work earthquake-strengthening work required on the Athenaeum Hall, capacity inside was limited to 300 people.
That meant the majority stood outside to listen to the service, led by Arrowtown RSA president Lindsay Stirling and Rev David Wright, of St Peter’s Parish.
Speakers included Wakatipu High School pupil Hugh Taylor and Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay.
“There are few moments in a country’s history where you can look back and say definitively ‘that was the shaping of our nation’,” Barclay says.
“For us … Anzac Day and the Gallipoli campaign is one of them.
“One hundred years ago, men my age and younger left … with a sense of duty and adventure to fight for king and country.
“Today, we remember them.”
About 300 people, including Mayor Vanessa van Uden, attended a civil service in Glenorchy, while hundreds more watched the parade from the War Memorial in Queenstown to the Queenstown Memorial Centre.
Otago Daily Times