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Anzac day's poppy symbol turns 90

Last updated 05:00 20/04/2012
Fiona Goodall

GOOD CAUSE: Today is Poppy Day the day raises money for RSA organisations across New Zealand to support veterans, ex-servicemen and women and their dependants.

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This Anzac Day will mark the 97th commemoration since the Gallipoli landings and the 90th anniversary of the Poppy Day Appeal.

The 2012 Poppy Appeal began on Monday and the street collection is today.

Money raised will go to RSA organisations across New Zealand to support their work with veterans as well as ex-servicemen and women and their dependants.

RSA chief executive Dr Stephen Clarke says the first Poppy Appeal was held in 1922 and since then the annual appeal has only grown.

A total of $1.7 million was raised in 2011 and Dr Clarke says it remains the most important source of support and funding for the RSA movement across the country.

"All the money raised locally is spent locally – so money raised in a community is spent on the welfare needs of ex-servicemen and women in that community.

"The history of poppies as a mark of respect and remembrance is a remarkable one which goes back to World War I and the work of Madame Guerin on behalf of the victims of war in northern France," Dr Clarke says.

The first poppies distributed in New Zealand were manufactured by French war widows and the staging of the first Poppy Appeal in 1922 makes it one of the longest continuing appeals held annually in this country.

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