Diary from down under……

In the first of an occasional series here is the first report from 11 year old Rebekah, one of our scouts who is spending 6 months in New Zealand with her family. She has joined Island Bay Scout Troop and is joining in everything they do. Here she reports on ANZAC day, New Zealand’s equivalent of Remembrance Sunday.

Today I was in the dawn ANZAC Parade with the Island Bay Scout Troop. This was made up of the Keas (Beavers); Cubs; Scouts and Rovers (Explorers)). We had to get up at 3 am! We all met at Wellington High School along with about 240 other scouts and leaders – I was the only person in a UK uniform. We paraded down the street and assembled on ANZAC Square along with other representatives of the Guides, Air and Sea Cadets.
The cannon that fired was very, very loud.
A number of people spoke, laid wreaths, there was a piper who played the bagpipes and the Last Post was played. We also sang the Australian National Anthem and the New Zealand National Anthem (in Māori and English). We then went back to the High School for breakfast.
The Governor-Generals of both Australia and New Zealand spoke at the dawn service. They then flew immediately to Australia to take part in the commemorations there. There were also Turkish representatives and commemorations taking place in Turkey at Gallipoli. We have kept the programme and a poppy.
There was an estimated 40 000 people attending (20 000 were expected)! We were very near the front of the public crowd. For my Mum one of the most moving parts of the service was the Karanga – at the start of the service – led by Taranaki Whānui (a Māori woman). Wreaths were laid at the tomb of the unknown soldier and at the new Australian memorial.