Anzac Day will never be the same

EDITORIAL: For more than a century, in both New Zealand and Australia, Anzac Day has evolved according to the politics of the times. It has been both a patriotic event and a magnet for anti-war protest. Over the last two decades, on both sides of the Tasman, there has been a new appreciation of the day and its potential meanings by those too young to have ever been touched by conflict.

In 2019, it has changed again, in ways no one could have predicted.

Within days of the Christchurch mosque attacks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that New Zealand tourists who went to Gallipoli with bad intentions would be sent home in coffins like their grandfathers had been. New Zealand would pay, he said, for killing “50 of our siblings”.

New Zealanders in Gallipoli have been told to exercise increased caution, advice which has not changed since terror attacks in Turkey in 2016 and 2017.

READ MORE:

  • 58 Anzac Day services cancelled in Auckland, but services across rest of country will go ahead
  • Matakana Anzac Day service cancelled citing ‘terror threat levels’
  • Christchurch shooting: full coverage
  • ‘Bless the Crusaders’: A UN official praises the Chch response
  • Muslim prayer at Porirua Anzac Day service scrapped over security concerns

The warnings are a reminder that while Anzac Day’s context may change for us, we rarely think of the political environment the war was fought in and the shifting politics of the middle east. Gallipoli to us is a picturesque location for remembrance, but how often do we consider the other side?

Kate Gilmore, the United Nations’ deputy high commissioner for human rights who is currently in New Zealand, has talked of the Christchurch mosque attacks as an echo of the September 11, 2001 atrocity that led to a normalisation of anti-Muslim racism in the west and the disastrous war on terror. The attacks are a local aspect of a bigger picture in a world rapidly globalised by the internet.

That means that Anzac Day could now mark more than just New Zealand and Australia’s tragic entry into World War I. It has to be able to recognise the dead on both sides and the collateral damage from wars and terror attacks since. A historical commemoration can become topical again.

Efforts to include a Muslim prayer in an Anzac Day service at Titahi Bay, north of Wellington, showed how this topicality might work. It was disappointing that an inclusive gesture was cancelled due to security concerns.

Increased security and the cancellation of many dawn services will be another reminder that in 2019, the world’s wars and the ideologies they produce have come back to haunt us in remote New Zealand.

Two-thirds of Auckland’s Anzac Day services, and a service in Christchurch, have been cancelled after consultations with the police. Despite no specific risk to public safety, New Zealand’s terror threat remains high. That seems entirely sensible, just as there was a similarly enhanced police presence after terror threats in Australia.

But in 2015, Australians turned out in record numbers only a week after five men were arrested in counter-terrorism raids. Showing up rather than staying home was promoted as a patriotic duty.

It remains to be seen whether New Zealanders will stay away from Anzac Day in 2019 or turn up in greater numbers to express a similar unwillingness to be intimidated by terrorism’s hateful ideologies. But if they do attend, it would be nice to imagine that they will be thinking about more than the thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who died over a century ago.

Instead, they might also turn their minds to the many who have been killed in the decades since, sometimes very recently and very close to home.

Stuff

58 Anzac Day services cancelled in Auckland, but services across rest of country will go ahead

Two-thirds of Auckland’s Anzac Day services have been canned in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

There would be just 26 services across the region, down from 84 in 2018, Auckland Council said on Tuesday evening.

Decisions to cancel or consolidate services had been made following discussions with the police and the Returned and Services Association.

However, police had recommended to organisers that a number of planned events across Auckland be consolidated in the interests of public safety, she said.

MORE FROM
MANDY TE • AUCKLAND BREAKING NEWS REPORTER
[email protected]
“In the current environment Police are continuing to provide a visible presence nationwide for the safety and reassurance of the community.

“Police have been working closely with Auckland Council and local RSAs around plans in the lead up to Anzac Day.”

There would be a “high level of visible police presence” at each event “for the public’s reassurance”, she said.

However, the Returned and Services Association’s headquarters in Wellington was unaware of any services outside Auckland being cancelled.

RSA marketing and communications manager Shane Wratt said safety and security had been discussed with police nationwide.

However, Auckland was a “different beast” due to its population and the number of small services that took place on Anzac Day, Wratt said.

There were a lot of RSAs in the area and many had services in venues quite close to each other.

RSAs running smaller services were told it may not be possible to have police coverage and it was recommended they consolidate services with ones that were nearby, he said.

“We’ve been in conversations with police for some time and we’ve had collaborative conversations – we’re talking to experts who are giving us their opinions – but it’s up to RSAs to make the call,” Wratt said.

Wratt believed Auckland RSAs were taking a “sensible approach” to Anzac Day events as the most important thing was for people to feel safe, he said.

“It’s a different world.”

The RSA would be updating its list of services as soon as it received more information on cancelled events, he said.

AUCKLAND CANCELLATIONS

In north Auckland, Matakana War Memorial cancelled its Anzac Day service.

The Memorial said police had told it to cancel their Anzac Day service because of the “current terror threat level” on Monday.

In Howick in east Auckland, RSA members said that after discussions with police and Auckland Council, its marching parade had been cancelled.

However, the dawn and civic commemoration services on Stockade Hill would still go ahead at 6.05am and 11am.

Police told the Howick RSA the “threat level remains high and marching parades may make a tempting target”, a member said.

Organiser Mike Cole said although they had their personal opinions, cancelling marching parades was about the safety of the public and RSA members.

In past years, the parade has drawn in crowds of about 1000 people, Cole said.

A service in Helensville, in northwest Auckland, was also cancelled.

Helensville RSA president Les Coste said the service had been cancelled after talking to police.

Coste said there were problems with road closures and public safety was the utmost concern but the cancellation would only be for this year.

It was “certainly” disappointing and everyone was devastated, he said.

There would be dawn services in Wellsford, Warkworth, Browns Bay, Waikumete Cemetery, Waiheke, Auckland Domain, Pukekohe, Howick, Papakura and the Manukau Memorial Gardens, Auckland Council said.

Civic services would be held in Warkworth, Browns Bay, Silverdale, Waikumete Cemetery, Onehunga, Waiheke, Point Chevalier, Auckland Domain, Ōrākei, Great Barrier Island, Mt Wellington, Pukekohe, Waiuku, Howick, Ōtāhuhu and Papakura.

Organisers for South Island and Far North services that could be contacted said their events were still going ahead at this stage.

Stuff

Home

Serve for New Zealand
Serve for New Zealand asks you to pledge your time to a project or neighbourly activity, to help us honour the kiwi spirit of service. In 2016 and 2017 we encouraged you to help out in your community on Anzac Day to commemorate this special day of remembrance; to date, over 15,000 hours have been pledged.

However, as the Student Volunteer Army’s response to the Christchurch earthquakes reminded the country, every thoughtful act contributes and supports our community. So, you’re welcome to pledge your time and carry out your good deed at anytime – and we’d love for you to share it with us!

To see more about our Anzac Day campaigns, click here.

For more information, or to get more involved, contact us here.

Hey, schools! You can pledge your time here, or learn more about what Serve for NZ is, here!
Pledge Now

Total
27668 hours
Pledged By
8549 individuals

Recent Pledges
Name: TeAhuru Hohaia Location: Hohaia Pledged: 1 hour
Name: Vinnie Wee Location: Christchurch Central Pledged: 1 hour
Name: Gemma Shepherd Location: Ilam Pledged: 1 hour
Name: Scott McAulay Location: Ilam Pledged: 6+ hours
Name: Tayla Johns Location: Fernside Pledged: 1 hour
Name: Grace Davies Location: Merivale Pledged: 1 hour
Name: Xuanxi Yin Location: Ilam Pledged: 1 hour
Name: Xuanxi Yin Location: Ilam Pledged: 1 hour
Name: Nathan Liu Location: Ilam Pledged: 1 hour
Name: Jesse Green-Hill Location: Devonport Pledged: 2 hours
“This initiative is a way for Kiwis to remember the service of others in the past, and to continue that tradition of generosity and sacrifice in a practical way.
I would like to congratulate those who have already pledged their time, and encourage others to do the same.” HRH Prince Harry

Follow our social media channels to stay connected with Serve for NZ. Use the hashtag #ServeforNZ to share your volunteering projects with us!
Powered by Juicer

Pledge Now