Attendance at Anzac services at Ōrewa Remembrance Reserve has been growing over the years.
Residents say in the early days around 80 people took part, but recent ceremonies have attracted as many as 200.
A service has been held annually on the reserve for at least 15 years and locals seem determined to keep it going. It took place despite police warnings after the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019, and even during lockdown last year.
The reserve, on Ōrewa Beach, was designed to be a place where the community could pay their respects to veterans in a more informal way. It features plaques in memory of servicemen, and a flagpole erected around five years ago.
Until this year, the Hibiscus Coast Community RSA had been organising the service, although it is not an RSA site. However, they have now opted out.
Naval commander Frank Rands has stepped in to ensure the service goes ahead this Anzac Day, with the assistance of local board member and Ōrewa resident Andy Dunn.
The service has the traditional elements such as the playing of The Last Post, readings and wreaths laid by local politicians.
Andy says people like it because it has a low-key, community feel – there’s no marching, for instance, he says.
“It attracts families who want to place flowers or poppies by the flagpole. Sometimes people join in after walking on the beach.”
Frank says to keep it going in future years, he wants to get some Ōrewa locals involved. Anyone who can assist is welcome to email email@example.com or phone him on 021 761 161.
This year the Ōrewa Remembrance Reserve commemorative service takes place at 1pm and all are welcome.