Community Focus for Whakatāne Anzac Day

Community Focus for Whakatāne Anzac Day

Two buses will be on hand to take people to a community breakfast at Te Whare o Toroa Marae following the Anzac Dawn Service at Pōhaturoa next Tuesday (25 April 2023).

The 40-seater buses will also be available to transport people from the marae, following breakfast, to the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall for the Whakatāne District civic ceremony.

Anzac Dawn Service in Whakatāne will take place at Pōhaturoa on Tuesday and the community is invited to gather before 5.30am. The Navy, through HMNZS Matataua, will march with service academy members, former soldiers, and their families to Pōhaturoa during the service. Children from Apanui Primary School’s whānau unit, Te Whānau o Awetope, will sit at the memorial for Te Hurinui Apanui in acknowledgement of Ngāti Awa and their ancestor.

Whakatāne RSA President Victor Hape said the buses would be parked at Wharaurangi to transport people from The Strand to the marae following the dawn service.

“It is a community breakfast and, therefore, everyone is invited to Te Whare o Toroa Marae. We gather at the waharoa to be called on to the marae with a karanga. However, rather than going into the Wairaka Wharenui, we will go straight into the wharekai, or dining room, for a mihi before we share a meal together and undertake the other formalities such as roll call.

“Following breakfast, the two buses will be on hand again to transport those who wish to attend the Civic Commemoration at the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall at Rex Morpeth Park. Doors open there from 9.15am, with the service starting at 10am. Once the Civic Service is completed, the buses will be available to transport people from the Whakatāne War Memorial Centre to the Whakatāne RSA, where everyone is welcome to join the entertainment, including a community lunch.”

During this time, members of HMNZS Matataua will attend the Whakatāne Riding for Disabled to support the charity organisation. HMNZS Matataua will also be involved in a golf tournament with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa on Monday, April 24.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū Reuben Araroa said he was grateful to be able to partner other organisations to honour the shared history.

“It’s great to see the 100-year commemoration coming together and being appropriately supported by the Whakatāne RSA, Whakatāne District Council and New Zealand Defence Force officials leading up to the event. Pōhaturoa is a cultural taonga for Ngāti Awa so it’s important, from an iwi perspective, the significance of this is considered during the planning and delivery of the commemoration. 

“I also acknowledge Te Whare o Toroa Marae committee for making the necessary adaptations given their long history of hosting ANZAC day from the opening of every dawn service on their marae. Their continued support and leadership for the commemoration was essential for maintaining the involvement of cultural values that are important to our Māori service personnel past and present.

Whakatāne District Mayor Dr Victor Luca said he encouraged people to make an extra effort to be involved in the ANZAC commemorations. 

“While always a very important day in the calendar, ANZAC Day 2023 in our district is even more significant given we are marking the centenary of the first dawn service, at Pōhaturoa. The collaboration between Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, the RSA and Council has seen the introduction of the public transport between venues, so it’s never been easier for the community to attend both dawn and Civic commemorations.

Pōhaturoa Rock, Whakatāne