A community commemoration, complete with bugler, prayers and speeches, was put together at short notice at Remembrance Reserve in Orewa, where the official Anzac Day service had been cancelled.
Commander Frank Rands was on his way to the only local officially sanctioned service, at the Hibiscus Coast Community RSA, when he stopped at Remembrance Reserve to lay a poppy.
He was approached by a neighbour, Paula Dunn, who asked whether he would be back at 1pm for a service that had been organised on social media after the normal event was cancelled by the RSA on Police advice.
“I decided if it was good enough for the community to recognise this special day that I should do what I could to make it happen with some pomp and ceremony,” Commander Rands says. “Before I left the Hibiscus Coast Community RSA service, I made contact with a bugler Oliver Furneaux and a fellow shipmate, Dennis Henderson, who both agreed to assist.”
Commander Rands also borrowed a flag from the RSA for the service.
Around 70-80 people gathered for the Orewa service, including Councillors John Watson and Wayne Walker and Hibiscus and Bays Local Board member Caitlin Watson.
The service included a welcome speech, lowering the flag to half-mast, the Last Post, Ode and Reveille and wreath laying.
“The community spirit is alive and well and next year I am sure the service will return to normal,” Commander Rands says.