Hamilton Kirikiriroa Honors Heroes on Anzac Day

Hamilton, New Zealand – Today, the city of Hamilton solemnly commemorated Anzac Day, paying homage to its brave servicemen and women who have served their country with valor and commitment.

The day’s observances began with a poignant dawn service at the city’s Memorial Park Cenotaph at 6am, followed by a civic service at the same location at 10am. The large turnout of Hamiltonians at both services underscored the significance of Anzac Day to the community.

Anzac Day, celebrated annually on April 25, marks the landing of the ANZACs (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. Over time, Anzac Day has come to honor New Zealand’s involvement in all conflicts and peacekeeping missions, from World War I to the present.

Deputy Mayor Angela O’Leary, who addressed the civic service, expressed her pride in the growing attendance at Anzac Day commemorations. “The sacrifice of our Anzacs must never be forgotten. Seeing so many young people at these commemorations fills me with immense pride. It is crucial that we pass the Anzac legacy on to our youth,” said Deputy Mayor O’Leary.

RSA Chaplain Lance Langley officiated both services. Large screens were set up at Memorial Park to ensure attendees could follow the proceedings from various locations. The services were also broadcast live on the Council’s website.

The dawn parade began at the intersection of Victoria Street and Anzac Parade at 5.45am, while the civic parade assembled in Memorial Drive at 9.45am, near the park gate. Air Commodore Shaun Sexton of the New Zealand Defence Force was the keynote speaker at the civic service.

In keeping with tradition, over 5000 poppies were displayed at the corner of Memorial Drive and Anzac Parade. The Hamilton RSA also erected 350 white crosses in Memorial Park in memory of Hamiltonians lost in conflict.

Among the veterans expected to attend the dawn service were former NZ Army (Infantry Corps) Warrant Officer Class 1 Tony Wright and his wife, former NZ Army (Education Corps) Sergeant Aileen Tough. The couple view Anzac Day as a time to reflect on the sacrifice and service of many New Zealanders, and also an opportunity to reconnect with old friends.

This year, Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate represented the city at Anzac Day services in Ieper – Hamilton’s friendship city in Belgium.

Today’s Anzac Day commemorations in Hamilton were a moving tribute to the bravery, compassion, camaraderie, and dedication of the ANZACs. The city united in remembrance and reflection, ensuring that the legacy of the ANZACs endures.