Stand at Dawn – Kāpiti commemorates ANZAC Day in a new way
For the first time in its history the Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association (RNZRSA) in conjunction with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will be commemorating ANZAC Day services on 25 April with a virtual Dawn Service.
Kāpiti District Mayor K Gurunathan says the importance of this year’s ANZAC Day is more apparent than ever.
“The pandemic has highlighted our national traits of connectedness, compassion, endurance and ingenuity. We are all making huge sacrifices, in a way most of us have never had to before,” Mayor Gurunathan says.
Anzac Day services have never been cancelled since they began in 1916. This year, all dawn services, commemorations and parades have been called off due to COVID-19. However, even though the public cannot gather together to mark the occasion, it does not mean that the tradition of remembering and commemorating our veterans and service personnel should be cancelled too.
“A virtual service is a unique way for families and communities to remember Anzac Day within the safety of their ‘bubbles’. The sacrifice everyone is being asked to make as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response is the same kind of ANZAC spirit that we honour for all those who have served New Zealand,” says Mayor Gurunathan.
The Virtual Dawn Service will be broadcast from 6am on Saturday 25 April on Radio New Zealand National. The Stand at Dawn campaign encourages all Kiwis to stand at their letterbox, front door, lounge or backdoor while listening to the special broadcast.
The #StandAtDawn website (www.standatdawn.com) also has lots of activities that the whole whanau can do to remember ANZAC Day at home including making your own poppies, decorating letterboxes with ANZAC themes and how to find out which family members served New Zealand.
The RNZRSA is made up of 182 local RSAs around the country, each an entity in their own right, with over 102,000 members. There are two covering the Kāpiti district - the Otaki and Paraparaumu RSAs.
Cam Ronald from the Otaki RSA says for their 800+ members it is an important day for serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.
“This year will look very different than ever before, but we believe lots of veterans, service people, families and the wider public will engage with the StandAtDawn campaign. And because the annual Poppy Day appeal scheduled for 17 April has been cancelled we are also reminding people we welcome any donations to the RNZRSA’s Give A Little page https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/letsnotforget.
“ANZAC Day is a day for remembering the strength that comes from working together to overcome adversity. That quality is now more important than ever,” says Mr Ronald.