Youth take up the Anzac baton

Last updated 05:00 26/04/2014

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Mostly dry conditions and increasing awareness among young people are being credited for strong Anzac Day service turnouts around New Zealand.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said it was a positive sign that the next generation was involved in marking the occasion.

"They're carrying the baton and taking the spirit of Anzac forward.

"We're seeing more and more youngsters, grandmas and granddads bringing the young ones out," he said.

Close to 10,000 people gathered at the Auckland War Memorial Museum for the dawn service.

Corporal Alasdair McIntosh brought his 5-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son to the service for the first time.

McIntosh said he had seen a steady growth in crowd sizes each year.

Five thousand gathered before dawn at the Wellington Cenotaph.

Among the younger generation at the service were Jack, 7, Max, 5, and Will Denison, 3. It was their fourth, third and second times at the dawn parade respectively.

Father Pedro Denison said his children enjoyed coming so much it was "a bit like Christmas" for them.

"They were awake at about 5am waiting," he said. "They have their favourite parts, obviously the guns are a bit of an attraction."

Tom Wilton, 10, wore his great-grandfather's uniform from Gallipoli.

Prime Minister John Key, there along with Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and top military brass, laid a wreath at the memorial.

Hundreds gathered in Picton for its Anzac Day dawn service, and record crowds attended Nelson's dawn parade and ceremony.

About 4000 people attended the Invercargill service that started at 7am, but torrential rain hit the Southern Lakes District and disrupted services.

In Clyde, the service was shifted to the town hall, while rain in Arrowtown made it too slippery to get to the town's cenotaph.

At the Tisbury Hall as the honour roll was called for the final time. It was the last service in the small hall after 71 years of commemorations.

SUNSHINE FOR LOCAL SERVICES

As if on cue the rain stopped and the sun shone during two minutes of silence remembering those who had fallen at the Timaru Anzac service at the Soundshell on Caroline Bay yesterday.

There was a good turnout for the 6am service.

At Temuka there were an impressive number of young people among the crowd.

An RSA spokesperson said the service was spared the rain, while in Fairlie it was a beautiful day with the service well attended by locals, and also present were Ghurka regiment soldiers who have been training in Tekapo.

Attending South Canterbury's RSA service at Caroline Bay were Ted and Lesley Hansen, who were in the New Zealand Army signal corp where they met.

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They thought it was heartening to see so many young people involved in the commemorations.

Lesley wore her great uncle's World War I medals with pride.

A man who did not want to be named recalled being a child during World War II.

He said when the Japanese landed at the British Solomon Islands and Bougainville in 1942 there was the real fear they would then invade New Zealand.

"We [children] were sent on trucks to sheep stations for safety," he said.

Growing up near Gisborne at Tokomaru Bay he remembers trenches being dug by the home guard on the beach.

Representing the families of the old girls who went to war were Timaru Girls' High School principal Sarah Davies and two students.

Participating in Anzac Day services was very important, she said.


- Fairfax Media

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