The cancellation of five of the six local Anzac services is expected to swell numbers at the one remaining parade, at the Hibiscus Coast Community RSA in Whangaparaoa.
Smaller, local parades at Puhoi, Silverdale Cenotaph, Remembrance Reserve in Orewa and Upper Waiwera Cenotaph have been cancelled due to concerns following the mosque attack in Christchurch last month in which 50 people were killed and almost as many injured. The dawn service at the Hibiscus Coast Community RSA has also been cancelled.
RSA National Headquarters marketing and communications manager Shane Wratt says that the issue is safety when crowds gather, especially when parades are involved.
He says Police have been discussing the issue with the RSA and Auckland Council since the terrorist attacks. A decision as to which parades would go ahead was made on April 5.
“There are 29 RSAs in Auckland, some quite close together,” Mr Wratt says. “Police need a presence at each gathering and that meant reducing the number of events.”
Hibiscus Coast Community RSA president Rod Klarwill says it was up to the local RSA as to which parades should be cancelled. “Police suggested the dawn services were best cancelled, and we took their advice,” Mr Klarwill says. “It’s been done in the interests of public safety and we want people to feel safe when they come to an Anzac service.”
The remaining service, which takes place on April 25 at the Hibiscus Coast Community RSA, 43a Vipond Rd, Whangaparaoa at 11am, is normally the largest on the Coast, attracting around 1000 people to support the veterans. Members are gearing up for an even larger turnout because of the cancellations.