Porirua children pay tribute in ANZAC ceremony

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Wellington

Whānau of Ngāti Toa iwi gathered upon Takapūwāhia Marae in Porirua to remember ANZAC veterans.

Local children were the highlight in this year’s ANZAC ceremony performing a play in tribute to local soldiers who served in battle.

The sound of bombs resonated across Takapūwāhia Marae as children dressed in war-ravaged clothes retell scenes of a time far from their imaginations.

They’re the focus of this year’s ANZAC ceremony on Takapūwāhia Marae, performing a play they have specially prepared for their whanau in tribute to their koroua.

Local kaumātua Te Rerehua Parai Nicholls says, “There were several children in there whose tūpuna had not come back and so it was quite emotional for them and it was a very sacred time for all the children”.

Over 100 gathered to remember ANZAC veterans including the forty soldiers from the marae who left their community of Porirua for battle.

Parai Nicholls says, "Many of them served in the 28th Māori Battalion and then many of them of went to other theatres of war; WW1, WW2 and then nearly every war thereafter.  And that connection gave the children a lot more understanding".

Parai Nicholls, who has been running the ANZAC celebrations at Takapūwāhia Marae for over 10 years, says this year was particularly special with the centenary commemoration of WW1.

"The most important thing for them was to remember the sacrifice of all their tupuna who went out there and they appreciate it more and they have more of an understanding of why they died there and it was deep in their heart".

With the stories of old now in the hands of the new generation, Takapūwāhia elders are confident the memories of past veterans will not be forgotten.