Diane Hume-Green comments on the ANZAC Day Combined Service at The Domain, Tauranga 2015
Anzac Day dawned bright and clear. As we walked to the Domain with people of all ages, many stopped for photos next to The Memorial Gates which had been restored for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli conflict. The Pipe Band played behind the gates which evoked the feeling of the service to come. The grandstand was already packed when we arrived at 9.15 but there was plenty of room next to the grandstand though we should have packed something to sit on the grass. The stage could have been set back further as the large screens showing the speakers were excellent quality and more people could have been accommodated in front of the stage, especially elderly people who arrived later. There was a great atmosphere at The Domain, one of Tauranga’s best kept secrets unless you are a sports enthusiast or supporter.
Speech highlights came from Lieutenant Commander Evan Dines of the Royal New Zealand Navy who mentioned the families who were left behind and had to deal with men when they came home with physical injuries and the mental scars of war. The other speech that was very poignant was from George Hicks, who talked about his grandfather, George Te Kati Gardiner, who served in the First World War for New Zealand and the Second World War for Australia. I had heard of his amazing story at TedX 2014, where Puawai Cairns, a curator from Te Papa, gave a talk on soldiers from the Bay of Plenty who were in the Maori contingent at Gallipoli. Check out her talk at www.tedxTauranga2014 . This year’s TedX event is on July 25th at ASB Stadium.
The applause for the march past by the old soldiers was prolonged as a mark of respect they richly deserved. Tauranga Boys’ College gave a rousing haka at the end of their final march which unfortunately was not filmed on the big screens. As my son attended TBC I know how emotive their haka performances are. The choir sang, the wreaths were laid, the band played and the prayers were made and acknowledged by the large crowd. Even though buses came from both Mount and Greerton RSA Clubs, more public buses could have been used to get people to and fro. Most people though mooched around town and all the cafes that were open were full, for those that didn’t take advantage of the free bacon butty (spelt the English way) and cup of tea and of course, an Anzac biscuit, outdoors at The Domain.
Diane Hume-Green A regular contributor to ARTbop Diane Hume-Green of Tauranga is a fashion and fibre creative and a member of a well known local business and music family.