This year’s Anzac Parade at Te Rawhiti, turned out a beautiful still morning, the sun shining down on our Memolrial Stone ‘dressed’ with photos of our men placed on our marae korowai. This is the first time we have done this and, in future, weather permitting, we shall continue to do this.
We had a large contingent from Mina Kiwikiwi’s whanau whose brother, Wiki, had just passed away and, was aware of the arrangements being made here at Te Rawhiti but, unfortunately, through illness did not make it. Never mind, he was present in spirit, as were all the other men , they were certainly with us as we all recited the Ode – “We will Remember them”
Mina handed over her brother’s photo which was placed beside the other photos on display. Representatives from the Russell RSA, Mr Terry Greening from the Far North District Council, members of RSA’s all over the country, the widow and whanau of Mina’s brother, nga kai karanga, Maude and Kihi Ririnui and myself. Mr Hone Matenga Apotoro from the Ratana Religion conducted the Service, making reference to the Bible and alluded to all those who had served and ‘given’ their lives for their country. Bella played the Last Post, Russell Hook raised and lowered the flag. Cousin Matu Clendon replied to the Minister.
Wreaths were laid by Mr Greening on behalf of Council, another was laid for 28 Maori Battalion, and one by Richard Witehira for Ngati Kuta and Patukeha.
After the hariru procedure, everyone was invited inside for breakfast prepared, with thanks and appreciation to the Hepi whanau and all those who brought kai along to share.
As people filed in for breakfast, they were entertained by Jackie Rewha Clendon, mahi a-ringa experts Maude, Gloria and myself! So folks, it was a lovely start to this Special Day and needless to say, we all ended up at the RSA to ‘unwind’ – some, (who shall remain nameless!!) still ‘unwinding’ until early hours of next day. No reira e te whanau koia nei taku Ripoata mo tenei ra tino whakahirahira,.
Na te kuia nei o te marae o Te Rawhiti.