Two Kiwis on epic 350km ANZAC journey to Gallipoli
2 Kiwis, 2 Aussies, 2 Turks and an epic 350km ANZAC journey to Gallipoli
Two young New Zealanders will today commence an historic 10-day journey in Turkey, to mark the 89th anniversary of the conflict that defined the Kiwi spirit. Christopher Maguigan and Christine Shanahan will become the first New Zealanders to take part in the annual Legacy of ANZAC Walk, trekking 350 kilometres from Istanbul to Gallipoli alongside two Australians and two Turks. Their journey will begin from the centre of the historic old town of Sultanahmet in Istanbul on April 15th at 20.00 (NZ time), bound for ANZAC Cove where the intrepid travellers will arrive prior to the dawn service on the morning of ANZAC Day, April 25th.
The Legacy of ANZAC Walk is a pilgrimage of remembrance and takes each walker through a 10-day journey of physical hardship and self-discovery, as the walkers stand shoulder to shoulder to retrace the footsteps of their forefathers. "Standing amongst the crowd of Kiwis, Aussies and Turks reinforced my passion and understanding for what it is to be a New Zealander. It was clear that the friendship that was forged in 1915 remains today in the hearts of the new generation and is a common and underlying thread of comradeship", said Christine Shanahan who visited the ANZAC commemoration services in Turkey for the first time last year. "I think it is important to raise awareness of ANZAC day to the next generation and if by walking I have encouraged one person to read a book or indeed visit Gallipoli to experience it for themselves - then I have achieved my goal", said the
"To me, its about retracing a period in New Zealand's history were we established ourselves as a country in the world arena+ICY-but in moving forward we must never forget the sacrifices our forefathers made to give us the country we have today", said Christopher Maguigan, also twenty-seven from Timaru. "I hope that people will see that I am an average Kiwi guy standing up and getting behind something I believe is important+ICY-I want to show everyone that's all you need to do to make a difference", he said.
In Turkey, the event has already received a great deal of attention. "Gallipoli is the home of the bloodiest conflict that had enormous consequences for all our nations. On the same battlefield where a generation was lost - a unique friendship was borne and therefore bears an important reflection for commemorating the ANZAC tradition", said Event Director, Mesut Gokceli. "I believe that the Legacy of ANZAC Walk will help Gallipoli earn its rightful place as a world heritage site and will go down in history as the birthplace of our modern nations. I am sure these walkers will do us all proud", he said. Looking at the challenge ahead, Christopher said, "I think the reality of this mammoth walk has now sunk in+ACE- When I first told my family they thought I was crazy, but as it gets closer I know they are very proud of what I am doing". Christine shared this sentiment, "Initially, I don't think my family believed me - but they are all very supportive. What will motivate me to finish will be remembering how the troops suffered more than I ever will".
Christopher and Christine will be joined by Australians, Aaron Langmaid and Emily Webb and Levent Akinc and Serpil Ungel from Turkey. Money raised from the walk will be donated to the Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association (RNZRSA), the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL), and Mehmetcik Vakfi (Turkish Servicemen Society) who for several decades have together supported hundreds of thousands of servicemen and their families.
Fez Travel Turkey and Fez Shop UK are the
organisers and proud sponsors of the Legacy of ANZAC Walk in
the spirit of remembrance. Fez are the biggest provider of
ANZAC commemoration tours helping people from all over the
world visit Gallipoli every year.