Auckland RSA Turns 100

( Public invited to celebrate Auckland RSA’s 100th birthday with military parade
New Zealand’s oldest Returned Service Association (RSA), Auckland RSA, is turning 100 this year. To mark the centenary, the Association is hosting a free military parade at the Auckland War Memorial Museum at 11am on Saturday 8 October. It will run for an hour. People are encouraged to attend the parade.

The parade, hosted in conjunction with Ngati Whatua, guardians of the cenotaph on the forecourt of the Museum, is about celebrating the lives of veterans killed in conflict over the last 100 years and to confirm the Auckland RSA commitment to support veterans and their families for at least another 100 years.

Graham Gibson, Auckland RSA’s president and a veteran of the Vietnam War said “I’m proud to be able to celebrate this significant milestone with veterans, the New Zealand Defence Force and the people of Auckland. The Auckland RSA was established in 1916 during the First World War, to care for men killed and injured during the conflict. A hundred years later, we now have many new veterans, both men and women, living in our city after returning from conflicts all over the world. We are committed to ensuring they have the support they and their families need when they return.”

130 New Zealand Defence Force members will be on parade, along with veterans from World War two, Malaya, Vietnam, Bougainville, Bosnia, Angola, East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sinai, and Cambodia. The local Auckland Reserve Battalion (3/6 Battalion) will provide the flag party for the ceremony.

Participating for the first time in a military parade is a group of ‘wounded warriors’ – Invictus athletes, many whom took part in the Invictus Games in the USA earlier this year, winning 15 medals on behalf of New Zealand. The Auckland RSA provided financial support to help get the athletes to the Games. Also parading is the Vanguard Military School.

Shane Hales, a well-known local musician, will be singing his ANZAC song in tribute to veterans young and old. The award winning Royal New Zealand Artillery Band will provide music throughout the parade.

Ngati Whatua will play a significant role in the parade by welcoming veterans onto the forecourt with a conch shell alarm and karanga and supporting the troops marching off at the conclusion with a special dedication to the Maori Battalion.