Taranaki School uses All Blacks to make connection to Anzac

Olive Glasgow, the youngest student at the school, lays the wreath at the cross of the unknown soldier on her first day ...
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

Olive Glasgow, the youngest student at the school, lays the wreath at the cross of the unknown soldier on her first day at school.

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.

Members of the Omata community came to support the school for the service.
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

Members of the Omata community came to support the school for the service.

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.

Connie Baylis, 10, made a medal for her relative who died in World War I.
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

Connie Baylis, 10, made a medal for her relative who died in World War I.

"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.

Tim Hobson reads the roll of honour.
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

Tim Hobson reads the roll of honour.

"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.

Crosses lined the school field as the students heard about the meaning of ANZAC.
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

Crosses lined the school field as the students heard about the meaning of ANZAC.

"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.

 

 - Stuff

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