Bright red poppies, decorated white crosses and Anzac biscuits will overtake Omokoroa on April 25 as the peninsula commemorates Anzac Day for the first time.
Local trio Heather Reynolds, Alison Badger and Liz Farrell are organising the peninsula’s first Anzac commemoration – and a variety of events will be on offer.
Alison Badger and Liz Farrell hope Omokoroa residents will participate in the peninsula’s first Anzac Day commemorations.
But many tasks require residents to get busy now, with biscuits to be made, crosses to be decorated and poppies to be knitted, crocheted or felted.
“We thought that with the peninsula’s population growing, it seemed timely to have something local to commemorate Anzac Day – especially with 2015 marking 100 years since the Great War,” says Alison.
“WW100 is obviously something that will be a big event in New Zealand. We wanted to celebrate the principles the ANZACs fought for – family and your mates, home and hearth, the Kiwi way of life and freedom of speech – the kind of things we take for granted today.”
On April 25 the Omokoroa Peninsula events start 6am at Crapp Reserve with a dawn service – aptly named Poppies on the Point.
The ladies have linked in with the New Zealand 5000 Poppies Project, which sees the red flowers created nationwide as a visual tribute to WWI’s NZ servicemen and women.
“So you knit, crochet, felt and use any other way of creating a poppy; then they’ll be made into an art installation in Christchurch.
“We’ve pledged to make 100 poppies for that – we’re still making them – and the rest we’ll use for our dawn service.”
Liz, who works at Omokoroa Library, has patterns to show even the faint-hearted how to knit or crochet a poppy for the project.
After the dawn service will be a cup of tea and biscuits – which offers residents the chance to participate in an Anzac biscuit bake-a-thon.
“The idea is people can make and donate biscuits and we can dish them out after the service.”
At 11am is a wreath-laying ceremony at Omokoroa Point School, with a brand new flagpole.
“Here we’re creating 100 white crosses for the Field of Remembrance project – they’ll be arranged around the school’s flagpole.”
The materials and labour have been given to the project free of charge. People can pick up a cross from Omokoroa Library to decorate to honour those fallen.
“It would be lovely, if there’s a family member to commemorate, that people can take home a cross, personalise it and bring them to the 11am service and plant them.”
And to finish off the day, Omokoroa Boat Club is hosting a dinner and variety concert.
The Omokoroa Community Board has pledged their support to the project, granting $1000 as a contingency for the events, but the aim is for everything to be cost-neutral.
So far local businesses, community groups and individuals have helped build crosses, buy wool and donate paint etc.
“The grant is an insurance back-up but we hope people will help out and we don’t have to use the grant.
“Anything people can do – either knit poppies, bake biscuits or decorate white crosses – they are still welcome to get involved.”
And it was Heather, who came up with the idea for the peninsula to show their Anzac spirit.
“The thought is we’ll do something this year and if it’s well supported it could become an annual thing.”
To get involved, see Liz at Omokoroa Library or call Heather on 07 548 1620 or Alison on 07 548 1544.