Community & Environment

Hamiltonians set to welcome back Anzac Day

Image from the Anzac Day Dawn Service 2019

After last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, Hamilton City Council and Hamilton Returned Services Association (RSA) are expecting Hamiltonians to warmly welcome back their Anzac Day services this Sunday.

The city’s Anzac Day parades and services return on 25 April after not going ahead in 2020 – the first cancellation since services began in Hamilton in 1916.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate is pleased and relieved that residents, in COVID-19 lockdown last Anzac Day, can once again honour the huge sacrifices of New Zealand’s service personnel.

“I know that Anzac Day was very difficult for many of us last year; it just didn’t feel right. But it was particularly challenging for some of our older citizens who served, or continue to have very strong ties to our defence forces. So, it will be wonderful to be back together again on a significant occasion when we can reflect and remember those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms.”

Hamilton RSA President Ross Bredesen said 2020’s cancellation of Anzac Day impacted on the Defence Force community the most.

“Attending Anzac Day services is how our members pay tribute to fallen and surviving veterans. To not have the opportunity to do so alongside one another last year would have been a difficult experience for them. However, it will make this Sunday’s occasion even more poignant and special.”

Mayor Southgate said she has been reflecting on the theme of this year’s Anzac Day and Poppy Day appeal, ‘Service and Sacrifice’, acknowledging women and the military.

Accordingly, a commemorative address for the Civic Service will be delivered by Captain Maxine Lawes of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Captain Lawes joined the RNZN in 1986 and in 1994 became the first woman to be appointed as Aide de Camp to the Governor General. She was a pioneer of RNZN women serving at sea and has had operational deployments to East Timor, Solomon Islands, Lebanon and Israel.

“The terms service and sacrifice go hand in hand,” said Mayor Southgate. “Across all branches of our services, women now play an incredibly important role and in times of war, that has always been the case; it just hasn’t always been as obvious. It is wonderful to see women particularly acknowledged this year and I look forward to meeting and listening to Captain Lawes.”

Council and the RSA are reminding those taking part in the parades ahead of the Dawn and Civic services that the starting point has changed from previous years.

The parades will now start from the corner of Victoria Street and Anzac Parade at 5.50am and 9.45am respectively.

The Dawn and Civic commemorations start at the Cenotaph at Memorial Park at 6am and 10am.

Both commemorations will be livestreamed at hamilton.govt.nz/anzacday

Road closures for Anzac Day memorial services

The following road closures will be in place on Sunday 25 April for the Anzac Day services:

  • Memorial Drive, from Te Aroha Street to Anzac Parade, 12am to 1pm
  • Knox Street, from Victoria Street to Anglesea Street, 12am to 1pm
  • Victoria Street, from Hood Street to Anzac Parade, 3am to 1pm
  • Anzac Parade, from Victoria Street to Grey Street, 3am to 1pm
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