April is now upon us as we head towards ANZAC Day 2021. Due to the COVID pandemic last year, we couldn’t celebrate ANZAC Day due to the national lockdown.
With the support of 1XX and Colin McGee, we produced our Dawn Service over the airwaves as we stood to our driveways/letterboxes in our own way, ensuring that those traditions we hold dear, we maintained.
So now that 2021 is upon us, what can we look forward to as we head towards ANZAC Day? Prior to ANZAC Day, we celebrate Poppy Day on Friday 16th April 2021. The theme for this year’s Poppy Day appeal is “Women and the Military”, and the appeal brand is “Service and Sacrifice”. We will have a number of volunteers out and about in the community giving of their time to this appeal, with donation boxes going out earlier to those organisations that are supporters of the Poppy appeal.
Following the Poppy Day appeal, volunteers from the RSA will be providing presentations to our retirement villages. These presentations are always sought after by our residents and are a time to share stories and experiences with each other. We also support our two senior schools during this period at their ANZAC Day assembly, as they take time to reflect on their history of those that served during The Great War.
Our Dawn Service will be held at Wairaka Marae which is a tradition Whakatane has adopted and supported. Your RSA takes the lead for this in partnership with a number of different organisations putting the plan together. The Dawn Service will again be aired live on1XX including the breakfast speeches. Following the Dawn Service, we have our Civic Service at the Whakatane War Memorial Hall at 11am. The Whakatane District Council and the Mayor’s office takes the lead for this service.
ANZAC Day 2021 will be a little bit special this year for Whakatane. The Honourable Peeni Henare, Minister of Defence will be attending both the Dawn and Civic Services. HMNZS Matataua will be returning to their homeport that is Whakatane, with a number of special theme’s playing out at the Dawn Service and back at the RSA on completion of our Civic Service.
If you would like to volunteer for any roles mentioned above as we plan towards these different supporting events building towards ANZAC Day, then please see me or any staff at the RSA, your efforts are more than welcome.