ANZAC Day 2020 Speeches by Raglan Area School Head Boy and Head Girl

While this year’s ANZAC services have been cancelled due to COVID-19, as is tradition, Raglan Area School’s Head Boy and Head Girl will be delivering their ANZAC speeches online this year.

You can read their transcripts below and don’t forget to tune in this ANZAC DAY . You can check the Raglan Area School Facebook Page for more details.

Head Boy Dughall Eadie:

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Karioi te maunga

Ko Whaingaroa te moana

No tau iwi oku tipuna

Ko Poihakena te marae

No Whaingaroa ahau

Ko Te Kura A Rohe O Whaingaroa

Ko Dughall Eadie toku ingoa

Kia ora, my name is Dughall and I am currently the Head Boy of Raglan Area School. I would like to start off by thanking the returned services association for inviting me to speak today.

We live in an amazing place, surrounded by the ocean, great people and a great sense of community. We have so much on offer to us. Today is a day to be thankful for that.

I am only the second generation of New Zealanders in my family,  and so do not have any relatives who fought for the ANZACS.  However, my ancestors also fought for their countries, in order to provide a future.

My great grandfather was part of the team of scientists that raced against the clock to invent the RADAR, at the beginning of the Second World War, while my great great grandfather was on active duty in Egypt during the First World War, in the camel corps. My own grandfather, who is currently living with us during the covid 19 lockdown, was only a child during the Second World War. He lived in Grimsby in Yorkshire and woke up one day to find his bedroom wall had been bombed away in the night. He slept right through it.

As we know, April the 25th was a big day in the ANZACs Gallipoli campaign. It was a push to capture the Dardanelles, a narrow strait between Europe and Asia. By gaining control of this straight, the allied forces would control the waters surrounding the Gallipoli peninsula. Over the course of the day, a total of 8,700 Australians and 2,779 New Zealanders gave their lives for the future, for us. Those people who died were like you and me, normal people who left behind their lives and their families to fight for our country, our home.

However ANZAC Day isn’t just commemorating the Anzacs,  but rather a day for all soldiers, from all wars, who put themselves in danger for their countries, for us. Specifically, here in New Zealand, it is for our own armed forces, many of whom are still out there protecting us.

The eventual allied victory came at a huge loss, not only that of lives but of fathers, mothers and children. So today, we pay homage to the fallen soldiers, those brave people who fought for what they knew was right, and to make sure New Zealand would be safe for generations to come. Today, we salute and remember what those people did for our country. We remember those ordinary people that gave up their lives for us.

The efforts of these people have particular significance at this time, when we are all being called on to stand up, do our part and be strong, in our countryś response to the pandemic.

Although I, and perhaps also you, may not be personally related to the men and women  we are acknowledging today, we can all take pride in what they stood for, and be proud in knowing what they did for us, and what they did for the world. We can learn from them about the extraordinary things that ordinary people are capable of, in the face of threat,

So today is a day of sadness and remembrance, but also pride – personal for some, and based on the history of the amazing country we live in for others, like me.

Thank You.

Head Girl Sasha Kirkwood:

Ko Karioi toku maunga

Ko Whaingaroa toku moana

Ko Endeavour toku waka

Ko Poihakena toku marae

Ko Sasha toku ingoa

Ko Angela toku māmā

Ko Rob toku pāpā

Ko Peter raua ko Jack aku tuakana

E tekau mā whitu oku tau

No Whaingaroa ahau

Now, that last part is very special to me; No Whaingaroa ahau – I am from Whaingaroa Raglan.

To myself, and many of you I’m sure, Whaingaroa is where my family and friends live. But it’s also where a community thrives, and works together like one big whanau, and it’s in times like these that we must stay strong and stay safe, together.

In hard times everyone must make sacrifices, and this is exactly what New Zealand as a nation did during World War 1, when New Zealand supported the British Empire and sent troops to fight on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance for the sacrifices these men and women made, and we can all use this time to reflect on the challenges they endured. Because our ANZAC service could not go ahead this year, I still wanted to honour this day of remembrance, and am doing so by addressing you in this form.

If you don’t already know me, my name is Sasha Kirkwood, and I am the Head Girl of Raglan Area School for 2020.

I feel especially privileged to have been given the opportunity to speak to you on this day, as a representative of my kura.

Even though this year Bow St will not be packed with people on April 25, and the air will not be filled with the sound of soldiers and veterans boots marching, or the tunes of the pipe band, I know many of you will still be honouring the sacrifices people made during times of war within the privacy of your own homes.   

I’m sure almost every one of you watching this will have a connection to someone who was  involved in the war, whether it was a family member, a close friend, neighbour, or even a community member. Today I’d like to talk about my grandfather, who fought in World War 2 along with around 140,000 other New Zealanders.

John Douglas Kirkwood (Jack), RNZAF Registration number 439190, Sergeant, 17th Squadron, Pacific.

My grandad was born July 13th, 1925, and he enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force when he was just 17 years old.

This fact really put everything into perspective for me, as this would be exactly the same as if myself or my twin brother Jack just packed up, left our family and friends, and joined the armed services today as we are currently 17 years old.

Boys and girls all around the world lied about their age to enlist in the armed services, because not only did they want to serve their country, they wanted to go on what they perceived to be a big adventure.

My grandad was an apprentice panel beater before he signed up to begin training on fighter planes. He qualified to fly in Kitty Hawks and later in Corsair fighters. He flew combat missions in Rabaul during the offensive against the Japanese, and after the war he was fortunate enough to return home to finish his apprenticeship. He later moved from Hamilton to Matamata to begin a business in panel beating.

ANZAC Day was always a day of remembrance for him and he was religious in attendance at both the dawn and civic service each year.

After listening to grandad’s story of his war efforts, it made Anzac Days more poignant for me. I often found myself thinking about his war experiences when I attended our local Anzac service.

We often hear the stories about the personal experiences people have had during the war itself, but what really saddened me with my grandad’s story was the fact that he lost more of his mates in intensive flight training here in New Zealand, than he ever did whilst flying and fighting in the Pacific. He witnessed good friends die by flying straight into the ground. Friends who never even made it beyond the shores of New Zealand to engage in true battle.

He said he would always remember those who died young, those who never knew what the world became because of theirs and others’ sacrifices.

And that is what ANZAC Day is all about, remembering those who gave their lives for us.

From what I remember, my grandad never really talked about the war, all I remember was him either teaching Jack and myself how to hit a golf ball in Matamata’s Pohlen Park, or giving us horsey bites on our knees when we were being cheeky. John Kirkwood was a good man, he told us that he had a great life, and I’m so happy I got to share it with him.

Today, we are all facing a global pandemic, and the media has implied that our current situation is the greatest challenge New Zealand has faced since WW2, meaning we all need to do our part to keep ourselves and each other safe.

It’s now our time to step up, and do what’s right for our country, just like our brave men and women did all those years ago.

I’d like to now sing a song to honour my grandfather and every single person who served our country and made sacrifices each day to create the New Zealand we know and love today.

The song I’ve chosen is Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

We have already come

‘Twas grace hath brought us safe thus far

And grace will lead us home

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found

Was blind, but now I see.

Thank you all, stay safe

Lest we forget