Young Kiwis off to Anzac Cove
Young leaders will be following in the footsteps of their ancestors when they represent their country at Gallipoli this Anzac Day.
Four Manurewa Intermediate School students have been selected to be ambassadors for New Zealand at the annual Dawn Service at Anzac Cove.
It's part of a two-week trip to Turkey organised by the Pearl of the Islands Foundation, a society for Turkish people living in New Zealand.
The trip is also partially funded by Turkish government departments including its Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Year 8 pupils Daetona Rawiri, Michael Gibson, Alysha Hannah and Praise Fa'amasino-Ah Chong, all 12, are the lucky four picked to travel to Turkey.
Papatoetoe Intermediate School pupils Cullen Pisa, Ba Phong Pham, Amelia Tuitupou and Johanna Setefano will also make the journey.
The eight, who are the only Kiwi children selected, are expected to be ambassadors for South Auckland and the country as a whole.
Manurewa Intermediate School associate principal Mel Bland says her students were chosen for their leadership qualities.
"We knew they'd take the opportunity and use it in the future. They'll bring back what they learned and pass it on to others."
And it's a responsibility they're taking seriously.
They've formed an Anzac Club at school and meet every week to learn about the Turkish culture and language.
Both Daetona and Alysha had family members who served in World War I so they're looking forward to seeing the battlefields, trenches and graveyards.
"It's really meaningful to me because my family fought there. It's going to be an amazing trip," Daetona says.
As well as the Dawn Service the kids will visit museums and mosques, share meals with Turkish families and take part in art workshops.
The Manurewa Returned Services Association has got in behind the students to raise funds for the two-week tour.
A Batons Up raffle event raised $4000 and donations from veterans are still rolling in, patron Anne Candy says.
The kids will be expected to report back to the RSA about their trip and bring back a stone each from the battlefields.
Email manurewa.rsa@xtra. co.nz or call executive committee member Dave Fenton on 027 477 0604 to donate to the trip.