Anzac Day Commemorations Across Our Communities
Anzac Day commemoration is an important part of New Zealand’s history, and The Salvation Army has always been involved in the annual gatherings. Many corps across New Zealand organised Anzac services or were involved in services in their community this year. Auckland City, Hamilton City, Johnsonville and Oamaru Corps share what they did for Anzac Day in their corps and wider community.
Auckland City Corps worked with corps member and retired military corporal/bombardier Ken Davie to organise an Anzac Day parade at their corps during a Sunday service. They had a parade for the Auckland (Countess of Ranfurly’s Own) And North Auckland Regiments.
At the beginning of the service, they sang the national anthem and played the ‘Last Post’, where the New Zealand and regiment flags were received. There was also ‘The Ode of Remembrance’ and a ‘Reveille’ conducted. The band played many hymns, including ‘Abide with Me’ (SASB 670) and ‘In the Army of Jesus’ (SASB 687).
Drawing on the fact that the New Zealand military has been more involved in peacekeeping in recent history, Auckland City Corps Officer Major Alister Irwin shared a sermon on peacekeepers and tied this into God and faith by emphasising God is all about peace. He said, ‘ultimately God is the peacekeeper, but we all have a role to play in keeping peace’.
This was the first time Auckland City ran an Anzac Day service in their corps, as in previous years they had been involved in the community services. Alister said many appreciated having the service under the corps’ roof, and they hope to keep running the service in their corps in future years.
Hamilton City Corps has been observing Anzac on the Sunday before Anzac Day for many years. The service normally has a segment with an Anzac-themed message. The Anzac segment this year was a tribute to musicians who have contributed to the Army Band and Concert Party.
Music has always been a significant part of The Salvation Army’s history. Lt-Colonel Wilfred Arnold, former military chaplain, said Hamilton City Corps has had many members involved in the armed forces, and the Army Band, over the years.
‘We think of fighting forces, but we forget that fighting forces are sustained by a whole lot of other psychosocial aspects, and one of the important ones is the Army Band’, said Wilfred.
Some of the most significant parts of the service were the ‘Last Post’ and singing the hymn ‘Abide With Me’. The Salvation Army and New Zealand flags were brought in as the band played. And as ‘Reveille’ was sounded, Wilfred took the salute. Many who attended found this part of the service to be very moving.
Wilfred explained, ‘It has become part of the cycle of events in the life of Hamilton Corps that is looked forward to, that is respected and is appreciated. Each year, it is made relevant to the families and to the next generation of Salvationists’.
The Johnsonville service took place on Anzac Day, starting with a march at 9.40am. The service was organised by Senior Chaplain Denominational Advisory Council representative for The Salvation Army (ChDAC) Major Glenton Waugh, in partnership with the Johnsonville Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association (RSA).
Previously, the RSA had held the service at their premises, but for the last 10 years they haven’t had an RSA site, so the team at Johnsonville Corps have offered to host.
‘It’s the Army’s gift back to the community to show that we’re wanting to help in the community,’ said Glenton.
The service was held in the Johnsonville Corps carpark at 10am, starting with a moment of silence, the welcome and opening, followed by the hymn ‘O Valiant Hearts’. The address was given by Glenton, and he spoke about the great sacrifice the soldiers made, and the modern-day heroes we see today.
Wreaths were laid as students from Newlands College read out the war poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. Other annual Anzac Day traditions took place, including the playing of the ‘Last Post’, ‘Reveille’, singing of the national anthem, and the final benediction.
There was a good turnout, with the carpark being mostly full. Those who attended enjoyed the service and for many, it has been a significant tradition for years.
Glenton mentioned that ‘the idea for us at the Army is to show that we want to give to our community, and you’re invited to our place … we’re just ordinary people, but we have a faith that motivates us to remember our people’.
Oamaru Corps paid homage to Anzac Day in their Sunday service, while also being involved in the Oamaru community service.
Their Sunday service acknowledged the people who served overseas through a display with historic photos, poppies, small flags, a cross and a Bible. They had a moment of silence, read out ‘The Ode of Rememberance, and had a prayer for peace to remain in New Zealand.
Oamaru Corps Officers Captains Jocelyn and Paul Smith were also asked by the mayor to participate in the two community services on Anzac Day. They shared the opening prayers, Bible reading and benediction, and participated in the wreath laying. The brass band at the services had players from both Oamaru Corps and Dunedin City Corps.
They marched with the parade to the Garden of Remembrance and sang hymns, most notably the well-known, ‘Abide With Me’. There were several thousand people and many different service groups, such as scouts and cadets, in attendance.
Jocelyn and Paul were honoured to be asked for the first time to attend the services and to represent The Salvation Army in the Oamaru community.
‘It was special to be able to pray and just to bring God into the service. It was special bringing that Christian aspect into the Anzac Day service,’ said Paul.