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Business community rescues ANZAC Day service

Media release

Newmarket Business Association

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Business community rescues ANZAC Day service

In an unprecedented move an Auckland business community is organising its own ANZAC Day service this year, after the RSA had earlier pulled out.

For over 80 years the RSA had organised a commemorative service at Newmarket's war memorial every ANZAC Day. However the Newmarket RSA has sold its clubrooms, with its former members now belonging to other clubs. With those factors in mind the Auckland District RSA had earlier decided to drop the annual Newmarket event.

“When we heard that RSA was not going to organise anything this year, our instinct was to act. Newmarket has a fabulous war memorial which commemorates and names the local men who died in both world wars. We could not bear to ignore our own local heroes on ANZAC Day. It just wouldn’t feel right, particularly when nationwide support for ANZAC Day is stronger than ever," said Cameron Brewer, general manager of the Newmarket Business Association.

Mr Brewer says the former Newmarket Borough Council funded the memorial stones which were unveiled by former Prime Minister William Massey in 1924. The names of those local men who had died in World War Two were later added.

“Our forebears went to a lot of trouble and expense at the time to create a local memorial. The last thing we want to do is stop honouring those in our community who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We were worried that if this annual event stopped, it would never get started again and all that local history would fade."

With the full support of the RSA’s Auckland District President Gary Walker, the Newmarket Business Association has over the past few days organised an informal ceremony which will take place from 10am in Olympic Reserve, next to the Olympic Pools and near the Broadway roundabout.

Members of the former Newmarket RSA will be in attendance for the 10am ceremony which will be conducted by Reverend Bryan Haggitt of St Mark’s on Remuera Road. The Auckland City Pipe Band will be in attendance as will the MP for Epsom and local Newmarket Primary School children who will join in the wreath laying.

“Business associations don't normally organise such events but this day is dear to all our hearts. Every New Zealander has a connection ANZAC Day. With RSA membership on the decline, I think we're going to see more communities around the country taking affirmative action to retain their local ANZAC Day services.

“We’re encouraging people to come along and support this special community gathering at 10am. It’s going to be a great occasion and we’re thrilled Newmarket is once again on the ANZAC Day schedule of events,” said Mr Brewer.


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