Grandson proud to wear war medals
Jai Meyer has only been at school for a week but he's already had a very special task.
The five-year-old is the youngest student at Omata School and had the honour, along with eldest student Esmeralda Dalgliesh, of laying the wreath at the school's Anzac ceremony on Friday.
Upon his shirt Jai proudly wore six medals which used to belong to his great grandfather Percival Meyer, who served in World War II.
"Today is about who died in the war," Jai said.
"I got to wear these medals.
"I like the star ones."
Jai said he had been practising his special role in the ceremony all week and his nana had polished the medals especially for him.
His dad Ray Meyer said the medals were treasured by his family.
"Jai's actually the only one to wear them apart from his great grandad. Today is a really special occasion."
Jai was one of 156 students of the school who made and laid poppies in the garden on the grounds.
Teacher Pat Murphy spoke to the crowd, made up of students and their families, RSA members and members of the New Zealand Defence Force.
He talked about people in his family who were killed in action in World War I and said by the time the war ended, everyone knew someone who had lost a loved one.
"You can imagine the impact that would have had on communities," he said.
He talked about how the sons and daughters of the people who fought in World War I went on to serve in World War II.
"The whole thing happened again," he said.
Lieutenant James Dunningham said Anzac Day was a chance to remember the dead, but also to remember the living, who returned home with traumatic unseen scars.
"They are and always will be the sons and daughters of New Zealand," he said.
Eleven soldiers from Omata died in World War I, and five soldiers from Omata died in World War II.