I suppose nothing illustrates more the fact that I have not made such a huge move from Australia to New Zealand than the ability to attend an Anzac Dawn Service. It was great to see the New Zealand, Australian and British flags flying side by side.
The speaker at the service in Dunedin, Air Commodore Baillie seemed to stress the partnership that developed between the two countries on that first Anzac Day and, when he said not only did the New Zealanders and Australians become comrades in arms on the first Anzac day they also became mates, I felt tears running down my cheeks.
I have had nothing but welcome since my arrival (with occasional friendly ribbing).
Apparently I do not have a strong Aussie accent and many people mistakenly think I am returning home. Of course I am bucking the usual trend of Kiwis to move to Australia. I was amused when the removalists said my sister sounded far more Australian than me.
The dawn service in Sydney commences at 4.30am while most suburban ones start at 5.30 or 6.00. The service at Gallipoli starts at 5.30. In Dunedin the actual service started at 6.30am but dawn is much later down here. I was able to get up at 5am and leave home just after 5.30 and still have a good position whereas last year I caught a train about 1.30am.
There were a number of differences. The Last Post and Reveille did not immediately follow the Ode which is the norm in Australia. There were less hymns. The catafalque party added a Maori warrior as well as representatives of the three services. I do not know how he stood still all that time in just a grass skirt and loose cloak. I was glad to see, although barefoot, he was standing on a mat over the marble surface. It was warmer than yesterday but the wind was brisk.
I was disappointed we did not sing the Australian national anthem. In Sydney they do sing the New Zealand anthem but then it is not included in the services in suburbs and country towns. I guess there would be many more New Zealanders in Sydney than Aussies in Dunedin. I was surprised that very few around me were singing and regretted that while I know the English I have not persevered in learning the Maori words. A phot of the cenotaph in Dunedin is on the right.
I attended the Dawn Service at Gallipoli in 2002 and here is a brief clip from the service there last year.
A retired teacher librarian who loves travelling especially by train and wastes a lot of time on the Internet.
An Anglican who knows God loves me as a gay man.
Moved at the beginning of 2010 from the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia to Dunedin, NZ.
One of the best things I ever did.
I became a New Zealand citizen on 2nd March 2016
I will always be an Aussie by birth but am proud to be a Kiwi by choice.