Topic: ANZAC

Gallipoli locals prepare to host the masses

By Dean Nathan

Locals of Gallipoli prepare to host the masses attending Anzac Day commemorations.

Eceabat a small town in Gallipoli with a population of around 5,000 which is expected to at least double when the New Zealand and Australian visitors fly in to attend the dawn service on Saturday. The big crowds normally turn out in Gallipoli on Anzac day but with this year marking 100 years, the peninsula will have limited access.

Locals call it the ‘Wild Wild West’ because the whole area is essentially a battlefield and a mass graveyard. As a result of that there is special legislation aimed at preventing development of homes or hotels on the peninsula, leaving farming as the only option for the owners land there.

This year businesses aimed specifically at hosting the visiting Anzacs has humbled manuhiri like New Zealand soldier Heath Southcombe, “they look after our fallen sons, I just don't know what to say about it to be honest.  It’s quite humbling coming here and seeing the hospitality you get from the Turks especially after what happened all those years ago”.

As our Te Kaea reporter Dean Nathan arrived in the small town this morning, it was a different reception to what the Anzac soldiers got when they arrived a century ago. 700 New Zealanders and more than 2000 Australians were killed that day.  Ibrahim  Akaya a local says “Today there can’t be anything wrong between us now because of the great friendship that has developed.”

Every night this week, Dean Nathan will produce stories from Gallipoli as part of Māori Television, Te Kaea news coverage of Anzac, bringing insights from New Zealand and local perspectives on one of the most important events in our nation’s history.