His Worship the Mayor Max Baxter of Ōtorohanga
Anzac Day Message 2023
Tēnā kotou, tēnā kotou, tēnā tatou katoa,
Today, we gather to honour and pay our respects to those who have served and sacrificed in wars and conflicts. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who came before us and those who continue to serve.
I am deeply honoured to have with us here today my father, mother, and uncle, who are all in their 90s. My uncle compiled the letters from his father, my grandfather written during the First World War, providing us with a unique and personal insight into the experiences of our soldiers during that time.
My Grandfathers words remind us that the decision to go to war is never an easy one, but it is often made from a sense of duty and a desire to protect our nation and its people.
As my grandfather said, “We are getting used to the heavy casualties now because we come into contact with hundreds, I might say thousands, of wounded and dying men. It is only natural we should feel deeply for the loss of our friends with whom we have been associated for years.”
Another veteran said, “Between the bloody ridge of Chunuk Bair in 1915 and the black swamp in front of Passchendaele in 1917, New Zealand found individuality and nationality.
Not everyone who lost his life in war died there, not everyone who came home from war left there.
As we reflect on the past, we must also acknowledge the present. We see the devastating effects of war on innocent civilians, and the toll it takes on soldiers and their families.
As the Mayor of Ōtorohanga I believe it is our duty to continue striving for peace and understanding, to work towards a world where conflicts are resolved without violence. Let us honour those who have fallen by committing to creating a better future for us all.
In conclusion, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have served and continue to serve our country. We honour your courage, your sacrifice, and your commitment to defending our freedom. Thank you for your service, and may we never forget the lessons of the past as we strive towards a better future for all. Lest we forget