Regions pay tribute on Anzac Day

Thousands of people from throughout Otago and Southland have commemorated Anzac Day at services, remembering those who died and served in past wars. The current war in Ukraine was also highlighted.

North Otago

A crowd of about 1000 lined Oamaru’s Thames St for this year’s dawn service.

Former Royal New Zealand Air Force Flight Lieutenant Kelli Williams led the service at the cenotaph outside the Waitaki District Council headquarters.

Waitaki Boys’ High School head boy Ethan Reille shared a powerful story about former Waitaki Boys’ prefect Gus Ongley, who was killed by a German snipers at Baupaume, Northern France, in August 1918.

The service included the Last Post, the Australian and New Zealand national anthems, followed by the three rounds shot into the air, and a performance by the pipe band.

Meanwhile, about 200 people attended a service in Alma, south of Oamaru.

Waitaki district councillor Jim Hopkins gave an inspiring speech about Donald Brown, of Totara, who was awarded the Victorian Cross for his actions at the World War 1 battle of Flers Courcelette in September 1916, before being killed that month.

Cr Hopkins also touched on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.

”Peace is a precious thing but history tells us it can also be lost,” he said. 

– By Kayla Hodge

Lake Hawea 

More than 800 people attended the 7am Anzac Day Service at Lake Hawea.

Sergeant Lorne Capell of Lake Hawea, an Army reservist, led the ceremony.

Vietnam veteran Staff Sergeant Dave Wardell, who served for Australia, described a little of his service and asked people to remember the people of Ukraine.

“Each Anzac Day we renew our commitment to never forgetting,” he said.

Alexandra Pipe Band piper Vern Affleck of Cromwell and school pupils from Hawea Flat School were among dozens of musicians who took part in the event.

Bella Sarginson read Lake Hawea’s roll of honour, while school children placed crosses in the grass, and Rev Aaron Johnston led the prayers before both New Zealand and Australian national anthems were performed.

– By Marjorie Cook 

South Otago

About 400 attended a dawn parade and service in Balclutha this morning.

In a break from recent years, the traditional Anzac Day parade left from the Clutha District RSA on Clyde St, rather than the Balclutha War Memorial Hall, which has recently been demolished to build a replacement.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Baff led a service of remembrance at the Balclutha Cenotaph on Renfrew St, during which he and others gave thanks for the sacrifices of Anzac servicemen and women through the ages.

In cool, breezy conditions, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said peace was “not a given”.

“Right now in Ukraine we can see the bitter reality when diplomacy and detente fail. The treasure of peace should never be taken for granted. Let us thank our lucky stars we’re Kiwis,” he said.

The service concluded with the laying of wreaths and poppies, to the strains of the Balclutha Brass Group.

– By Richard Davison


Members of Bluff Returned and Services’ Association and the coastal community gathered at RSA memorial grove this morning to remember those who fought in war.

The community also held a minute’s silence to honour the lives of four teenagers who died in a car crash in Invercargill on Friday.

Bluff RSA secretary Father Hamesh​ Wyatt and president Phil Dickens said it was paramount to commemorate this day, especially considering the war in Ukraine.

“We need peace and mercy,”  Father Wyatt said. 

– By Luisa Girao


About 500 people gathered at Gore’s centotaph for the 103rd Anzac Day service and a parade was led by the Hokonui Celtic Pipe Band.

Ashleigh and Brian Butterfield and family attended the service for the first time together.

Mrs Butterfield said she had attended the service as a child but it was nice to be able to come as a family.

“It was absolutely beautiful.”

Attending the event was one way to teach their children about the sacrifices their forebears made, they said.

‘‘It’s even more important than ever to honour the values and the sacrifices made,’’ Mr Butterfield said. 

– By Sandy Eggleston












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