Naked in Nuhaka Guest Essay: Anzac Day In London
ANZAC DAY IN LONDON
Scott Boswell, 30.4.2004
TODAY WE HEADED OFF TO THE ANZAC DAY service in London only to find that we were nearly 2 hours early! So we headed through St James park to look for a cafe to have a drink before heading over to Westminster Abbey for the memorial. As it turned out we got to watch the changing of the Horse Guards so that wasn't too bad. Note if you intend coming to London...don't expect a cafe culture like in NZ or Oz...its pub culture here!
The service at the Cenotaph was very moving with great military brass band music and the old boys marching full of pride. What really got me though was when the band started to play Maori Battalion! I could feel the aroha swell up within me for the old boys who had done so much to ensure we would remain free. However...I think I put a bit too much kaha in to the bit "...for God, for King and for Country, Aue, Ake, Ake, Kia Kaha eeee" for our Australian friends who were around us!
Afterwards Eimi and myself walked around reading the wreaths placed around the cenotaph and these were from services and associations from all over the world (France, Turkey, NZ, Aus, PNG...and even South Korea!).
Once the service at the Cenotaph had finished we walked around to Westminster Abbey for the main memorial. As we were walking through to our seats we were a bit concerned that we would be seated with all the bloody Australians as we got our tickets from the Australian High Commission (don't ask me...Michelle organised them:). But all was ok when we got there because we had tickets to the poor people's section of the Abbey (ie. where everyone below the rank of Knight was seated).
There were some very important people at the Memorial...including Don McKinnon (as the Secretary General of the UN), General Sir Mike Jackson (Chief of the General Staff British Army), General Sir Michael Walker (Chief of the Defence Staff), representatives for the Turkish Ambassador (obviously being Sunday meant the Ambassador himself was busy elsewhere?), the usual assortment of government officials and tons of kiwi's.
During the service I was thinking to myself how quickly things were moving along...that was...until we got to "The Address" delivered by The Right Reverend Richard Hurford! During his lengthy...ahem..."address" I was reminded back to 1993 when 7BN was parading through the streets of Gisborne and the Mayor started his speech to us "I know these speeches are usually boring...so I shall keep this mercifully short". So as with all things in life the time that was saved back in Gisborne in 93 was reclaimed today in Westminster Abbey 04 (I'm sure you bible code people can make some kind of conspiracy out of this...
So after the memorial finished we wondered around the streets of London looking for a cafe to have lunch at and once again ended up cursing the British for their lack of real culture! We ended up in a nice pub though where we ran in to members of the local Maori culture group (who had just performed at the Abbey) and had lunch with them (some of them go to Kohanga with us on Saturday mornings).
Its funny you know...We've had to travel to the otherside of the world to see just how close Maori and Pakeha can be when faced with a common challenge. on ANZAC day we were all kiwi's where the white guy on my left was just as much a friend as the brown fulla on my right. There was no white or brown...just a common friend. I just hope those who are still at home in NZ can wake up and see the same beauty that I can see from so far away.
Next year we intend going to Turkey to see where so many of our Koro died.
SCOTT BOSWELL & WHANAU, LONDON, APRIL 25 2004
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(C) SCOTT BOSWELL & THE RAUTAKI GROUP 2004.