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RSA Encourages Week Long Display of Poppies

RSA Encourages Week Long Display of Poppies


The Royal New Zealand RSA is encouraging Kiwis to wear their poppies from Poppy Day, April 17, through to Anzac Day this year.

RSA Chief Executive, David Moger, says 2014 is particularly significant because it heralds the start of World War One centenary commemorations.

England declared war on Germany in August 1914, and the empire followed shortly after.

“Rather than wear a poppy for one day, we are encouraging New Zealanders to display it on their lapel through to Anzac Day, April 25, as a mark of respect and remembrance,” David says.

“Wearing a poppy is a way for Kiwis to connect to and honour the Anzac values of compassion, comradeship, courage and commitment, shown by New Zealand forces across all generations.”

David says more than 18,000 New Zealanders paid the ultimate sacrifice during World War One, more than in any other conflict involving New Zealand forces, and over 40,000 were wounded.

Poppy Day is the RSA’s biggest annual fundraiser. About 1.2 million poppies will be distributed this year and David hopes donations will reach $2.5 million. In the last few years they have amounted to almost $2 million.

Hundreds of poppy volunteers will be on streets throughout New Zealand from early April 17 and poppies will also be available from Z service stations.

Donations from Poppy Day remain with each of the 182 RSAs throughout New Zealand and are used locally for the support of war veterans, ex-servicemen and women and their dependants, whether or not they are members of an RSA.

“Veterans from World War Two, now in their 80s and 90s, face a range of health related issues and need an increased level of care,” David explains.

The RSA also provides support and assistance to the men and women involved in more recent conflicts. One example of support provided is the delivery of care packages to nearly 300 Defence Force personnel deployed overseas on Christmas Day.

The importance of Christmas parcels to the 23 personnel still serving in Afghanistan, was reflected in a letter from Commanding Officer, Lt Colonel G.M. Scobie, who commented that the RSA’s care packages were “a thoughtful, timely reminder of home” and the team were “very thankful for your efforts.”

David Moger says the poppy reminds people of sacrifices made for the greater good, both past and present. Poppies were the first flowers that grew in the battlefields of Flanders in Belgium during World War One and are a symbol of remembrance and hope.

“Poppy Day has been part of the New Zealand calendar since 1922, making it one of the oldest nationwide appeals,” he says.

Ends

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