ANZAC Assembly 2019

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This year’s ANZAC Assembly was held on Wednesday, 8 May, 2019, in the War Memorial Hall.

In attendance for this occasion were: Mrs. Mercia-Dawn Yates, for the Board of Trustees; Mr. R.K. Hope, J.P., Vice-President of the Rotorua RSA; Mr. T. Gill, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust Manager; Mr. S. Edward, Old Boy and Chairman of the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust; Mr. A.G. Monk, Old Boy; Mr. G. de Thierry, Old Boy and Principal of Rotorua Intermediate School;Mr. G. Hunt, Old Boy and Dean of Year 12; Mr. J. Dimock, Principal Advisor at the Rotorua Regional Office of the Ministry of Education; and Mr. R. Barber, Managing Director of Print Design, Ltd.

 

The ANZAC Assembly opened with a Mihi and Karakia delivered by Prefect, Kahurangi Kingi. The National Anthem was then sung after which Mr. Grinter introduced the guests on the stage and made his opening remarks. I then delivered my sixth Pro Patria Address on one of the men listed on our Roll of Honour, Pilot-Officer James Gordon Booklass, an Old Boy, who died, aged 25, in World War II. The read-through of names of the sixty-six men listed on the Roll of Honour was then done, after which the four House Captains laid wreathes at the foot of each of the Roll of Honour panels on behalf of the School and the Old Pupils. Students Maneo and Ngatai Armstrong then performed on the Bagpipes the very moving and stirring old Scottish lament, “Flowers of the Forest”.

 

Mr. Hunt then spoke about the First XV’s recent tour of Italy, Spain, France, and Belgium. A special event during this tour was their attendance at the ANZAC Ceremony held at Passchendaele in Belgium on 25 April, 2019. The Battle of Passchendaele, at which our second Principal, F.D. Wood (Principal from 1915-1919) fought, was one of the major and most devastating battles of World War I at which 843 New Zealanders were killed. Mr. Wood survived that battle, but he suffered from severe shell shock as a result of what he had gone through and witnessed.

 

Mr. Monk then spoke about his and my new book, Rotorua’s Roll of Honour for World War One and the Government Gardens War Memorials. This impressive and rather weighty tome (621 pages) details all of the 107 men who are listed on the Rotorua Roll of Honour for World War I and also the Boer War of 1899-1902. It also tells the stories of the three war memorials in the Government Gardens erected for these wars: the Fred Wylie Memorial, for the Boer War; and the Cenotaph and Arawa Soldiers’ War Memorial, for World War I. The publication of this book was the last major outcome of the recent World War I 2014-2018 Centenary commemorations in Rotorua.

Mr. Grinter then formally presented copies of the book to Mr. Monk and myself. Copies of the book were also presented to Mr. Hope, for the Rotorua RSA, and to Mr. Edward, for the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, which generously funded the printing of the book. The ANZAC Assembly concluded with a Karakia delivered by Kahurangi Kingi and the singing of the hymn Whakaaria Mai (How Great Thou Art).

 

As I mentioned above, at this year’s ANZAC Assembly I delivered my sixth Pro Patria Address on one of the men listed on our Roll of Honour. There are sixty-six men listed. This means that, from 2020, I have another sixty years to go to complete the list with Private Ronald Wolfgramm in 2079. As I will be well over 100 by then, I hope that I will still be around (and in sufficient shape) to complete this special task that I started in 2014!

 

Mr. K.J. Lyall,

School Archivist & Historian