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Hauraki District Council will parade out something different to help commemorate ANZAC Day in the district after making the decision to not go ahead with street parades and Civic Commemoration Services this year.

Difficult, but right decision to make

Mayor Toby Adams says that while it was a difficult decision to make, especially in light of the changes to the Red Traffic Light setting recently, he is confident it is the right one.

“We start planning these events well in advance and when the call was made to cancel, it was because the guidelines in place were too tight. Now, even with the easing of restrictions, we’re conscious of the importance of keeping the vulnerable in our community safe, given the current spread of Covid in the Waikato.”

“That, together with the lead in time we need to put traffic management plans and event organisation in place, meant we needed something special in our kit bag that would be meaningful to our community and we think we’ve got it”, he said.

Video collaboration with local actor and NZ icon Mark Wright

Along with a $1500 Council donation for each RSA Poppy fund in Ngatea, Paeroa and Waihi, Council learnt that local actor and NZ icon Mark Wright was writing a one man show highlighting the sacrifice and humanity of Gallipoli that he intends to premier at Waihi Drama Society and saw an opportunity to work with him.

Voices behind the Uniforms

“By collaborating with Mark, we’ve been able to create a unique video to offer the district on ANZAC Day. Voices behind the Uniforms is our video featuring excerpts from Monologues from Gallipoli, the one man play written and performed by Mark, along with local stories from members of the RSA and footage from previous parades”, said Mayor Adams.

For Mark, who travelled to Turkey in 2014 to front a TV documentary Sons of Gallipoli this collaboration means a lot too.

“My great grandfather used to own the Rob Roy Hotel in Waihi and two of my great uncles left from there to serve in Gallipoli, so this collaboration with Hauraki District Council and the RSA is very special for me”, he said.

Our unique tribute to the men and women in uniform

Mayor Adams said that the local RSA’s will conduct their own dawn services on ANZAC Day and they’ll be welcome to feature Voices behind the Uniforms on their TV screens at their premises throughout the day.

“We’ll run the video on our YouTube channel and on our Facebook page so families can watch it together anywhere across the district or even New Zealand wide.”

“Although Voices behind the Uniforms highlights the battle of Gallipoli, we feel very proud and privileged to use it to represent our tribute to all the men and women in uniform who have served New Zealand in peacetime and in conflict”, said Mayor Adams.

RSA Dawn Services will still go ahead, along with smaller services at the RSA's.

A list of the RSA Services and other services in the district will be updated on our website as we are notified of them.

Actor Mark Wright with the hats he will use for characterisation

Actor Mark Wright with the hats he will use for characterisation in his play

ANZAC Day Parade 2015, Waihi

ANZAC Day Parade, 2015, Waihi, before the hotel was repainted