Lay A Digital Poppy Online This Anzac Day With Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland War Memorial Museum will continue to commemorate Anzac Day, albeit in a different way in 2020.
In response to the pandemic guidelines, it became necessary for the Returned and Services Association (RSA) to cancel all public Anzac Day events this year. The Dawn Service on the Cenotaph outside the Museum and installation of the Fields of Remembrance will not take place.
However, the iconic Museum building in Auckland Domain remains a beacon of remembrance for Aucklanders. While closed to the public, onsite daily at the Museum the Last Post still plays prior to 5pm, and the flags on the Northern façade are raised at dawn and lowered at dusk.
The building exterior will also mark the occasion lighting in poppy red as a symbol of commemoration and remembrance from dusk Friday 24 April until dawn Sunday 26 April.
In absence of a physical gathering, the Museum’s Online Cenotaph will be a place for people to come together. People can lay a virtual poppy, read stories about returned service people, and leave messages for loved ones who have served.
Auckland Museum Chief Executive Dr David Gaimster says “As Auckland’s home of collective remembering, we acknowledge we will be unable to hold our regular Anzac Day commemorations and public programmes. This may be difficult for many as being able to gather together has always been an important part of how we as a nation honour this important day in our history.”
“However, the commemoration will continue, but in a different way. We encourage Aucklanders to come together online and connect on a personal level with our rich Online Cenotaph webpage so they can honour their loved ones, New Zealand’s’ returned service personnel and fallen comrades, discover more about New Zealand’s history and involvement in WWI, WWII and later conflicts.”
“The public can also lay a digital poppy in remembrance of a loved one. Last year over 90,000 digital poppies were laid on the Roll of Honour on the Online Cenotaph.”
Auckland Museum’s Online Cenotaph also allows enthusiasts, families, and researchers to share and contribute to the records of those who served for Aotearoa New Zealand. It contains a search by location function, allowing New Zealanders to research involvement from their local towns and communities.
The Online Cenotaph* database contains more than 235,000 records for New Zealand service personnel and the aim is to eventually provide a page for every person who has served New Zealand in international and national conflicts.
This year two new features have also been added to Online Cenotaph to make it easier to request new records and access the collection.
The public can now request the creation of an Online Cenotaph record using a new record form and the popular searches page allows public to explore the collection through curated searches. Over the past five years, the Online Cenotaph has completed many research and data projects often using items from Auckland Museum's collections.
“A place of remembrance, respect and solidarity, Aucklanders can be rest assured that while the doors are temporarily closed, the Museum’s remembrance traditions continue,” says Dr Gaimster.
“We invite all New Zealanders to commemorate Anzac Day with us and share stories of their families and loved ones through our digital remembrance website Online Cenotaph.”