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Posts Tagged 'Anzac Day'

A thought for Anzac Day: To close the gap with Australia, start by ditching “God Defend New Zealand”.

Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images


With Anzac Day approaching we can expect to see a great deal of national pride expressed. There will be entirely justified talk of what a great little country we live in, how we punch above our weight in so many fields, from sport to scientific and medical inventiveness, and of our proud record in two world wars. The Anzac spirit of courage and cooperation with our friends and allies across the Tasman will be celebrated, as it should be.

When I came here in 1964 the ties with Britain were only just beginning to fray. Kiwis still spoke of Britain as ‘Home’, but with the ‘mother country’s’ entry into the ECC, doubts had begun to surface about where Britain’s true loyalties might lie. Jack Marshall returned home with assurances that our dairy and meat exports to the UK were not under threat, but those assurances had something of the quality of Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time’.

In my 47 years in this country, it seems to me that in our affections we have grown closer to our Australian neighbours and ever further away from Britain. I doubt that anyone, other than new immigrants from the UK,  now speaks of Britain as ‘Home’ or would refer to it as the ‘mother country’. Though hundreds of thousands of us will be glued to our tellies for the wedding of Kate and William, it will, I suspect, be the spectacle that draws us rather than any strong feeling of love or admiration for the royal family. And republican sentiment is growing.    Read the rest of this entry »


Lest We Forget.

PoppyOn Anzac Day my parents used to take me to dawn parade.   It was dark, it was cold and it was eerie.  I watched my father, medals on his chest, standing rigidly to attention, and saw him as a stranger. Too young to understand the symbolism, I still shivered at the sound of the Last Post.

In my teenage years they left me in bed, my wails and protests not worth the effort, not worth marring a morning that was always special for my father.  I think it was the only day of the year apart from Christmas that he ever took a drink. Read the rest of this entry »

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