Sunday, April 25, 2010

ANZAC day in Dunedin

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.


motheramelia said...

Brian, I've only attended one ANZAC service and that was in Vienna at the Anglican Church. In addition to the British, Aussie and NZ ambassadors there was also the ambassador from Turkey. It was a very moving service. It was mid-day though, and not at dawn like the ones you describe. I think I remember someone saying that was when Australia and New Zealand really became independent nations. Does that ring true?

Brian R said...

Yes Amelia
It is more than just a day of Remembrance as it was the first time the soldiers of our countries went to war under their own flags. Not that that is what I would want our flags to be used for in the future. As the sermon in our church emphasised. Out of evil came good, heroism, comradeship and national identity. And it is quite common for the Turkish ambassadors to attend. We recognise they were defending their homeland and one of the most moving speeches was made by their commander and later president Kemal Ataturk is often read out at services
and there are memorials to him in both capital cities.

Doorman-Priest said...

I do enjoy reading of the new experiences following your move.