ANZAC Day holds a special place in the hearts of many New Zealander’s and more so over the years of the centenary period for The Great War. As a young Cub Scout, I can remember proudly preparing my uniform with scarf and toggle, rising early, and making my way to the cenotaph in Hastings to join the Cub Pack in remembrance of those who fought for our freedom many decades ago. Later I joined the Hastings Citizens Band and gained an appreciation for marching in the parade and leading the veterans from the cenotaph to the RSA for breakfast. One of the traditions of the band was to cease playing while marching past the memorial outside Saint Matthews on Eastbourne Street. There was an eerie solemnity of the parade marching to a solitary drum tap and then rousing the citizens’ with Colonel Bogey as if making a loud statement to those who did not rise to join us at 0530hrs – get up!
These young memories have stayed with me forever and ultimately shaped my own citizenship and need to participate in ANZAC services every year without fail. It is our duty to remember and do our best to curb global conflict and maintain peace through peace.
I have always been and still am a keen bandsman, however it was my time as an army musician with the 7th Wellington and Hawke’s Bay Battalion Band where I truly learned the highest forms of military ceremony and the history of our local territorial unit. Therefore, it is no surprise that my favourite object in our current World War One exhibition is Dr Frederick de Lisle’s bugle engraved with the insignia of the Hawke’s Bay Regiment. This bugle was last sounded at Gallipoli and prior to that gave orders at Awapuni Camp and Cairo in 1914, El Kubri Suez Canal in 1915 and then the Dardanelles 25 April – 8 May 1915.
Being a bugler must have needed an immense amount of guts and there are many stories associated with buglers acts of courage under fire. Buglers often fill my thoughts as I hug my tuba on parade, I really do not know if I would have cut the mustard as a soldier yet alone a bugler! However many of those courageous young boys that went to the battlefield probably thought the same yet off they marched for God, King and Country under the guise of an overseas adventure.
Our World War One exhibition tells the Hawke’s Bay story well and will close on the 1st of May, this ANZAC Day we are opening the museum doors at 7.00am for families to view the exhibition and learn about our contribution to the war effort one last time. The gallery will then tell the story of Maori waiata written during World War One with Houngarea marae at Pakipaki as the backdrop. Pakipaki is where all Maori soldiers from the East Coast congregated for a final farewell before departing via rail to their training camp and then embarkation to Europe. One of the waiata, E Pari Ra (Ebb Tides), written by Paraire Tomoana was later gifted to the Royal New Zealand Navy as their official Slow March. The waiata was gifted to the Navy at Pakipaki in 1968, where the band marched up and down the marae playing the waiata as a slow march and have done so ever since.
So as we close one World War One story to tell another, we invite you all to enjoy the museum and World War One exhibition as a free open day. Nau Mai! Haere Mai! We Will Remember Them!
Charles Ropitini Pou Ārahi | Strategic Māori Advisor, MTG Hawke’s Bay
Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 22 April 2017