Trip makes Anzac real

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 13:50 08/08/2014
peter steven
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
ANZAC APPRECIATION: Peter Steven, 18, was the Anzac NZ Embassy Youth Ambassador for the Anzac service in Ypres, Belgium.

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Anzac Day has become more significant for one Timaru teenager after he was part of a remembrance service overseas.

Peter Steven, 18, was the Anzac NZ Embassy Youth Ambassador at the Anzac service in Ypres, Belgium.

While on an AFS exchange in Belgium, Steven was invited to attend the service, held near the the site of the Battle of Passchendaele.

As youth ambassador he gave a speech at the service about what Anzac Day meant to him and the story of his great-grandfather's brother, James Thompson Steven, who was in the bicycle corps and died during the war after being blown off his bike.

Before the service in Ypres, which also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Anzac Day was not as important to Steven as it is now.

"It was the first Anzac Day I went to that I felt an emotional connection. It was crazy being there, way too real to see everything, the history."

As part of the day, Steven toured Ypres and the grounds of Passchendaele.

Although he took history at school and knew about what happened, he said he learnt a lot more on the day he was there.

A Maori haka group from Brussels also performed at the end of Anzac Day, which he recalled had the local Belgians shocked.

Steven is back in Timaru.

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- The Timaru Herald

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