Post-Christchurch security prompts Anzac re-think

Matakana has decided on police advice to cancel this year’s Anzac Day service.

Organisers of Anzac Day services across the Rodney district are in flux after police last week recommended consolidating smaller services in the interests of public safety.

Several services have been cancelled and many of those that are going ahead have been scaled back.

In Warkworth, the dawn and civic services will be held as usual, but without the marches that traditionally start and finish the parades.

Warkworth RSA immediate past president John Stephen says the marches have been dropped at the suggestion of police.

“It will definitely take something away from the parade, but that can’t be helped,” Mr Stephen says.

“We don’t have any concerns about safety, as we’ve received no indication of any threat, but we understand the police concerns across NZ as a whole.”

Services at Upper Waiwera, Puhoi (see change below) and Matakana have been cancelled.

Matakana War Memorial spokesperson Adrienne Miller says the decision had not been made lightly, but “unfortunately, it had to happen”. She says the decision was final.

The Leigh & Districts Ex-Services and Community Club has decided to go ahead with its service at the Leigh Cemetery.

However, club president Lucy Harris says if anything further came to light between now and the 25th, then that decision could be reviewed.

She says there will be a short march to the cemetery, but it is unlikely the school kapa haka group will be involved this year.

“The feeling of the committee was that we didn’t want to cancel, but we can’t ignore the police concerns about safety, either,” Ms Harris says.   

Services in the north – Matakohe/Paparoa, Maungaturoto and Hakaru – looks set to be held as usual.

Maungaturoto RSA president Terry McCook says communication from the national RSA president in Wellington was that it was basically up to individual clubs to make their own decision.

“We’re not overly worried, and we’ve decided that we’d rather go ahead than be intimidated,” Mr McCook says.

The Wellsford RSA president Terry Blackmore says the Wellsford service will go ahead as usual. A dawn parade will be held at the Wellsford Memorial Park with the fall-in starting at 5.45am. Tea, coffee and nibbles will be provided after the parade at the RSA.

Warkworth Constable Jon Williams expects Warkworth to be a bigger service than usual and extra security will be in place.

“There’s nothing to say that there should be a concern, but it’s about reassurances,” he says. “People shouldn’t be concerned to see armed police.”

Auckland District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus says it is important to reiterate that there is no information to suggest a specific risk to public safety at this time.

“In the current environment, police are continuing to provide a visible presence nationwide for the safety and reassurance of the community,” she says.

Service times

Service details as at Friday, April 12 (this story will be updated online if any changes come to hand):

The Puhoi community has decided to go ahead with its Anzac Service at the war memorial gates, at the entrance to the Puhoi Pioneers Memorial Park, starting at 9.30am. The service will be coordinated by the Puhoi Volunteer Fire Service. The annual display of war memorabilia and literature, plus Anzac biscuits and refreshments, will be held at the Puhoi Library from 10am to 2pm

The two services in Warkworth will be held as usual, but minus the marches. The dawn parade at the rotunda on Church Hill will start at 6am, followed by breakfast at the Warkworth RSA. There is a free breakfast for servicemen or $12 for members of the public. The Civic Ceremony at 10.30am, also at the rotunda, will include the New Zealand and Australian national anthems, the ode in Maori, and will be followed by light refreshments at the RSA.

A dawn service will be held at Memorial Park, outside the library. Fall-in at 5.45am.

A service, with guests from the NZ Defence Forces, Leigh Volunteer Fire Brigade and Rodney Local Board, will be held at the Leigh cemetery at 11am.

A combined Paparoa RSA and The Kauri Museum service will be held at the museum, with fall-in at the Matakohe War Memorial Hall at 10.30am. The march will halt at the Cemetery Flag, the flag will be lowered and the Last Post sounded. There will be wreath-laying ceremonies at the Gun Memorial and the War Memorial Hall. A service will be held at the Volunteers Hall at the museum during which family or friends will have the opportunity to lay flowers or poppies in the display near photographs of family members. Refreshments will follow.

Assembly will take place at the back of the hall at 5.45am. The dawn service will begin at 6am at the Maungaturoto Community Centre Hall, opposite the War Cemetery. A breakfast at the Maungaturoto RSA will follow. There will also be a brunch at the Maungaturoto RSA at 11.30am.

The Hakaru & District Memorial RSA service will start with an assembly at the clubrooms at 10am. The parade will march to the flag for a wreath-laying ceremony at 10.30am. The service will finish with refreshments.

Kawau Island
A community service will be held at the Kawau Boating Club at 12.30pm.

Algies Bay
A service will be held at the Amberlea Rest Home at 1pm.

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