Kiwis Prepare to Honour the Spirit of Anzac
19 April 2012
RSA National Media Release
Kiwis prepare to honour the spirit of Anzac
Poppy Day 2012 – Friday 20 April
New Zealanders across the country will be invited to wear a poppy tomorrow (Friday April 20) to commemorate all those who have served, and particularly those who were killed, in military service for their country.
RSA members and volunteers will join forces with New Zealand Defence Force staff and many other organisations to collect on behalf of the RSA across the country tomorrow as Poppy Day marks the start of Anzac Day commemorations.
It will be the 90th Annual Poppy Day, leading in to a week of commemorations that will culminate on Wednesday (April 25) with the 97th commemoration of the Gallipoli landings.
RSA Chief Executive Dr Stephen Clarke said the first Poppy Appeal was held in 1922 and since then the annual appeal had only grown.
The 2012 Poppy Appeal will help generate funds for RSA organisations across New Zealand to support their work with veterans as well as ex-servicemen and women and their dependants.
In 2011, $1.7M was raised and Dr Clarke said it remained the most important source of support and funding for the RSA movement across the country.
“All the money raised locally is spent locally – so money raised in a community is spent on the welfare needs of ex-servicemen and women in that community.”
Dr Clarke said the significance of Anzac Day and its meaning to New Zealanders could not be over-stated.
“We are reminded each year about this time about the sacrifice of generations of Kiwis before us and the wearing of the poppy is one way we can acknowledge and honour that spirit of service and commitment. Our RSA organisations across the country will be out in force tomorrow encouraging New Zealanders to share in that remembrance and contribute to the support work of their local RSA.”
To celebrate 90 years the new 2012 Poppy Day Appeal will have a refreshed look in keeping with the new RSA brand for the future released late last year. One of the other initiatives of this new brand is a new national website – www.rsa.org.nz which went live this week.
In the lead-up to Anzac Day, the RNZRSA also announced that Jonathan Brumley of New Plymouth and Wanganui Collegiate School was the winner of the national final of The National Bank RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition. Jonathan left for Gallipoli today with RNZRSA National President Don McIver.
About Poppy Day:
Poppy Day happens on the Friday before Anzac Day. RSA volunteers exchange distinctive red poppies for a donation to the RSA Poppy Day appeal in support of veterans as well as ex-service people and their families in need.
The poppy reminds us of sacrifices made – 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 a part of the New Zealand calendar since 1922, making it one of the oldest nationwide appeals. For more information on Poppy Day and Anzac Day please visit: www.rsa.org.nz