ANZAC 2017

Hei tēnei rā whakamaharatanga, kauopeope mai ki Whakaata Māori mō ngā whakapāhotanga mīharo, motuhake ki a Whakaata Māori, mō te Rā o Anzac. I hangaia mā te tautoko a Irirangi te Motu me Te Māngai Pāho.

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Mel Bland - Associate Principal, Manurewa Intermediate School


Mel Bland - Associate Principal, Manurewa Intermediate School

It's Day Two and we are all well and fine. Internet is sketchy so apologies that I haven't emailed earlier.  I will also be talking to the kids to ensure they are emailing you too!

We had a great first day in Istanbul – we went to the Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and the Istanbul Sapphire (tallest building in Istanbul).  But the jet lag has really hit tonight and all your children are asleep! Tomorrow is another big day visiting the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, the first palace of the Ottoman Empire.

Well I can barely keep my own eyes open too so will bid you farewell and hope to update our Facebook page more tomorrow.

Take care all and know that your kids are safe, happy and well fed!

Another great day of Ebru marbling (art workshop), Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. We finished off our long day of history, art and walking with an underground Metro trip by train under the Bosphorus and then off to a local family for dinner.

We are often off into Istanbul Central by 8:00a.m. And return late at about 11 p.m.  Your kids shower and generally fall into sleep soon after, as you can imagine!

We have internet at times and even then it drops out constantly.  As we are staying at a Muslim school, so many websites are blocked for us as guests.  My Skype does not connect and we cannot use Facebook at all.  Sometimes the wifi signal is strong and at other times it is non-existent.

I understand that you want to talk to your kids but unfortunately this is not always possible.  They are all fine, well fed and safe and I hope the Facebook posts when we are out and about are keeping you reassured that all is well.  I have a data bundle on my phone specifically to post up on the move so thanks for your patience with that. 

Tomorrow we are going to Camlica hill and maybe some more time on a ferry! We took the car ferry on our first day and yes, Istanbul is magnificent viewing from the water!  We will do other various things tomorrow and hit the biggest shopping mall called Forum (if time permits).  The kids have barely spent any money and will be saving most of it for the Grand Bazaar to buy gifts and souvenirs.  They are all eating a lot and trying everything new there is to eat - adventurous risk takers indeed!

Thanks again for 'lending' them to us for this trip.  It is already a fantastic experience and although they miss you all, they are also embracing every second of every new experience, knowing they will be back with you soon.

Take care and wish you were here!


26 April 2014

I really didn't know what to expect as I awoke on the morning of ANZAC Day.  The weather was crisp but not cold.  My clothing was all laid out plus all of the badges I had - the Manurewa RSA, the replica Simpson medal, my enamel poppy, my 100 anniversary poppy sent from Wellington.  It was rushed as I had Amelia and Alysha in my room so I helped get them organised before we were to all meet in the lobby at 2:30 a.m.

We bundled into the van and arrived at the hotel for the VIP guests upon which we were then allocated one of the 12 huge buses lined up ready to go.  After a short journey through Canakkale and another short journey on the ferry, our bus followed the train of vehicles heading to the dawn ceremony at ANZAC Cove.

We were so incredibly fortunate to be seated two rows behind the Governor-General and the Ambassador.  The atmosphere was charged with emotion and the crowd were somber and respectful.  It was overwhelming to not only be there but more so to be there with the hundreds of others in attendance.  The number of Kiwi's and Aussies was testament to the huge significance of this occasion.

The whole ceremony was poignant and so well executed, honouring our tupuna and those from Australia and Turkey who fought so valiantly at Gallipoli.  It was very hard to control emotions as the honour roll recounted the names and young ages of our fallen, alongside the bittersweet obituaries written for those who lay at Gallipoli.  I was so proud of our four young students and the reverence they held throughout the morning - the work we had done before we left NZ had certainly paid off.  Our young ambassadors, the great grandchildren of ANZAC troops, realized the huge privilege of being in attendance and also that we can never let this type of war happen again.

We left ANZAC Cove for our VIP breakfast, where the children mingled with many soldiers and dignitaries.  They were all so interested in why these young people were in attendance and what this day meant to them.  We were so grateful to have the new 100 year centenary badges to pass out to servicemen and women from Australia, Britain, Turkey and Aotearoa.

The Australian ceremony at Lone Pine was also touching, with the sun breaking out as the morning lengthened.  What stood out to me were the closing lines: "Tread softly as you leave because you are walking where our ancestors fought and now lie in peace".  So true and we most certainly paid respect as we left Lone Pine for Chunuk Bair and the NZ ceremony.

This was what we were all waiting for and yet, we also knew would be even more emotional for us all.  We had already used so many of our tissues and some of the children were not prepared for the enormity of emotion they had already experienced on this day.

I am so proud to say what an incredible ceremony the NZ contingent had spent months organising in this 99th year anniversary.  All speeches came from the heart, the stories of young soldiers and commanders that were shared showed just what had been experienced, and the songs/hymns both in Maori and English made us sing loudly with hearts swollen with pride.

As we stood in silence for those men and women who helped shape our tiny but great nation, we all let our tears fall on the very ground they had fought upon.  It was incredibly special and hard to almost describe.  The enormity of what our ANZAC troops had experienced, suffered, died for, hit home for us all.  We didn't want to leave.

As we waited for the crowds to disperse, we talked quietly about what we had all just been a part of.  It was, as the kids said, the most special experience of our trip. It was fitting to then be able to lay poppies and banners for our Manurewa RSA, those amazing returned servicemen and women who helped us make this epic journey.

We will remember them.  Lest we forget.

The ode of rememberance really does speak to all of us who were there for the ANZAC day ceremonies.  We will remember them and we will not forget.


25th April

An incredible service at Chunuk Bair. We will remember them.


28th April

We are half way home! Left Istanbul at 21:20, arrived in Korea at 13:20! Time travellers! You can see we are all well and enjoying the free wi-fi! See you soon, love you all.


Feedback for ANZAC study tour to Turkey 2014 (edited)

Turkey is so incredibly unique as it has been a part of so many different empires and civilisations throughout the centuries.  It has been Christian and Muslim.  Turkey is literally in the middle of the world, linking Asia and Europe but also with Middle Eastern influences.  One of the main things I have learned is that Turkey has a history of great tolerance when it comes to other cultures or changes in religion.  I learned a lot more about the history of the modern republic of Turkey linked mainly to the leadership of Ataturk.  I was fascinated that Turkey was still the Ottoman Empire as recent as World War I.

Istanbul was simply captivating – not just the sights but the whole city.  I loved the Hagia Sophia the most but was equally enthralled with the Basilica Cistern, especially knowing it was one of many under what was formerly Constantinople.  Ephesus was a real highlight but the house of the Virgin Mary really, really moved me.

I was blown away by the generosity and welcoming spirit of all the Turkish people I met, including those from the Foundation.  I made the time to talk with those who hosted us at their homes, hoping that I made it clear that if they should ever visit NZ, I would welcome them into my own home.

I really didn't know what to expect as I awoke on the morning of ANZAC Day.  The weather was crisp but not cold.  My clothing was all laid out plus all of the badges I had - the Manurewa RSA, the replica Simpson medal, my enamel poppy, my 100 anniversary poppy sent from Wellington.  It was rushed as I had Amelia and Alysha in my room so I helped get them organised before we were to all meet in the lobby at 2:30 a.m.

We bundled into the van and arrived at the hotel for the VIP guests upon which we were then allocated one of the 12 huge buses lined up ready to go.  After a short journey through Canakkale and another short journey on the ferry, our bus followed the train of vehicles heading to the dawn ceremony at ANZAC Cove.

We were so incredibly fortunate to be seated two rows behind the Governor-General and the Ambassador.  The atmosphere was charged with emotion and the crowd were somber and respectful.  It was overwhelming to not only be there but more so to be there with the hundreds of others in attendance.  The number of Kiwi's and Aussies was testament to the huge significance of this occasion.

The whole ceremony was poignant and so well executed, honouring our tupuna and those from Australia and Turkey who fought so valiantly at Gallipoli.  It was very hard to control emotions as the honour roll recounted the names and young ages of our fallen, alongside the bittersweet obituaries written for those who lay at Gallipoli.  I was so proud of our four young students and the reverence they held throughout the morning - the work we had done before we left NZ had certainly paid off.  Our young ambassadors, the great grandchildren of ANZAC troops, realized the huge privilege of being in attendance and also that we can never let this type of war happen again.

We left ANZAC Cove for our VIP breakfast, where the children mingled with many soldiers and dignitaries.  They were all so interested in why these young people were in attendance and what this day meant to them.  We were so grateful to have the new 100 year centenary badges to pass out to servicemen and women from Australia, Britain, Turkey and Aotearoa.

The Australian ceremony at Lone Pine was also touching, with the sun breaking out as the morning lengthened.  What stood out to me were the closing lines: "Tread softly as you leave because you are walking where our ancestors fought and now lie in peace".  So true and we most certainly paid respect as we left Lone Pine for Chunuk Bair and the NZ ceremony.

This was what we were all waiting for and yet, we also knew would be even more emotional for us all.  We had already used so many of our tissues and some of the children were not prepared for the enormity of emotion they had already experienced on this day.

I am so proud to say what an incredible ceremony the NZ contingent had spent months organising in this 99th year anniversary.  All speeches came from the heart, the stories of young soldiers and commanders that were shared showed just what had been experienced, and the songs/hymns both in Māori and English made us sing loudly with hearts swollen with pride.

As we stood in silence for those men and women who helped shape our tiny but great nation, we all let our tears fall on the very ground they had fought upon.  It was incredibly special and hard to almost describe.  The enormity of what our ANZAC troops had experienced, suffered, died for, hit home for us all.  We didn't want to leave.

As we waited for the crowds to disperse, we talked quietly about what we had all just been a part of.  It was, as the kids said, the most special experience of our trip. It was fitting to then be able to lay poppies and banners for our Manurewa RSA, those amazing returned servicemen and women who helped us make this epic journey.

We will remember them.  Lest we forget.

The ode of remembrance really does speak to all of us who were there for the ANZAC day ceremonies.  We will remember them and we will not forget.