Taranaki School uses All Blacks to make connection to Anzac
Ten-year-old Connie Bayles knows a little about World War I because one of her relatives was among its millions of victims.
"But he didn't get a medal so I made him one," she said.
Connie was among a crowd of students, parents, teachers and residents who attended a special special Anzac ceremony at Omata School on Friday.
During the service teacher Pat Murphy told the story of All Black captain and soldier Dave Gallaher.
Gallaher first played for the All Blacks in 1905 and served in the Boer War and WW I. He died at the Battle of Passchendaele in France, in 1917.
Murphy said he chose to talk about Gallaher as he was trying to help the students understand the impact the war had.
"It was a nice connection and you always kind of look for something the students will relate to," he said.
"It's impossible to relate to the events, we can't comprehend the horror but we can comprehend how it felt for the families."
As part of the service a number of white crosses were lined up on the field, surrounded by poppies, and during his talk Murphy asked the students to think about what the crosses represented.
"Those crosses are real people that had important lives," he said.
"Some people were really well known. I want you to think about the impact it would have had at the time."
Afterwards, Murphy said it was important for the students to know about what happened during the wars.
"If you look at most families you'll see they've got a connection," he said. "In my own family I've got connections to WW I and the loss of life. It leaves its scars."
Students at the school also took part in the service, with Isabella Roebuck reading For the Fallen, Awa Lewis reading In Flanders Fields and Tim Hobson reading the roll of honour of fallen soldiers.
Eleven soldiers from Omata died in World War I and five soldiers died in World War II.
Principal Karen Brisco said it was the second time they had held an ANZAC service, and it would become a tradition at the school.