by Helen Martin
True to their aim of “keeping the Anzac spirit alive and honoured”, Helensville’s Kaipara Memorial RSA organised events, which attracted a fantastic turnout by young and old on Anzac Day. A dawn parade and service, held at the Parakai cenotaph, was immediately followed by a short service at the Helensville Services Lawn Cemetery in Garfield Rd. Later in the morning, the final event was a parade down Commercial Rd from the Kaipara Tavern to the War Memorial Hall, with participants including veterans, members of the armed forces, Kaipara College, Kumeu Brass Band, St Johns Cadets, Scouts and Helensville Primary. The service held after the parade, which was attended among others by Helensville’s oldest veteran Harold Beven (98), included the laying of wreaths by many community clubs and organisations. At each stage of the commemoration, Reverend Felicity Smith in her prayers emphasized the importance of peace and justice as guiding principles in Aotearoa.
After the service, many took advantage of the open invitation to buy lunch and share memories at the RSA. While 25 April is always a solemn occasion, a day for reflection and sadness, it was great to see so much positive community spirit evident throughout the day. Organiser Steve Wilson was full of praise for the voluntary work put in by Kaipara College students. Rosie Smith and Merenia Paraone sang the Australian and New Zealand anthems and head students Georgia Logan and Troy Broadley read The Ode. As well as leading the parade and acting as flag bearers throughout the day, students willingly helped set up and tidy away the venue. “The Kaipara College students were very receptive to all the tasks they were given,” says Steve, “and it was a real joy to be involved with them.”