Virtual ANZAC Service

April 25, 2020 at 9:00 AM

‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, 
We will remember them. We will remember them.’

Laurence Binyon

Whilst Covid-19 may continue to lock down the country, Chaplain to the Schools, Reverend Reuben Hardie did not see this as an obstacle to the tradition of bringing the Boys’ School and Girls’ School communities together to ‘stand at dawn’ in remembrance of the fallen on Anzac Day – albeit, in a virtual setting this year.

Anzac Day is a day for remembering service and sacrifice in conflict, and the strength that comes from working together to overcome adversity. Now, in our own adverse moment in history, as we remain locked down in our family bubbles, ever aware of the tragedy that continues to unfold across the world,  we draw on the many qualities that the enduring Anzac spirit has taught us – mateship, endurance, good humour, ingenuity and courage. 

Just as our soldiers faced, and continue to face, battle on the front lines, today, our essential service workers step up to their own frontlines, to face a new battle as Covid-19 threatens nations worldwide. As we face these significant challenges now, and look back to the challenges of the past, we remember the courage of all those who have served in the name of peace, justice, the well-being of nations and world security. We will remember them.

In true Saint Kentigern tradition, lone piper, Year 8 student, Spencer Leighton had the honour of opening the service - and like all other contributors to the service, this was recorded from home!

After welcoming all those who joined the service online, Boys’ School Principal, Mr Peter Cassie, recalled the dark days on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, when 2779 New Zealanders were killed during a bitter eight and a half months struggle, which failed to achieve any military objectives - yet left a powerful and enduring Anzac legacy. The first Anzac Day was held on April 25 2016, a day of remembrance held each year since, to remember the ultimate sacrifice of those who gave their lives in the pursuit of peace.

Following Mr Cassie, Girls’ School teacher, Mr Isaac Williams, joined by his wife, Chloe, led the singing of the National Anthem before Girls’ School Chapel Prefect, Nora Cafferly read the Bible passage from John’s Gospel, including the words, ‘Greater love has no one than this – than to lay down their life for a friend.’

Over the years, the Boys’ School choir have perfected the singing of ‘Sons of Gallipoli’ at the open-air service at school. At this service, former Boys’ School student and choir member, now professional singer, Paddy Leishman, submitted his self-accompanied recording - a beautiful rendition of a poignant song. 

Reverend Hardie drew attention to two photos on his office wall – one of the city of Lepers in Belgium, taken in 1920, showing the devastation wreaked by war and, in contrast, another photo taken the same year, showing families picnicking on St Helier’s Beach in Auckland. All those years ago, just as it does today, New Zealand enjoyed a level of security that is very special to our country. Rev Hardie said, ‘What made the commitment of the Anzacs so remarkable was that they were willing to leave the peace and tranquillity of our country to travel half way around the world to stand up against all that is cruel and evil and wrong, just like the prayer of Saint Kentigern challenges us to, today. The courage of the Anzacs continues to be an inspiration for us 100 years on, as we continue to need young men and woman to stand up for what is right and true and good.’ 

Boys’ School Head Boy, James Hiddleston, did a superb job of presenting the evocative Western Front poem, ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row’ before  Girls’ School teacher, Miss Candace Cassie, led the singing of 'Māori Battalion,’ the song adopted as the Maori battalion's marching song during the Second World War.

As the service came to an end, Year 3 student, Kai Stevens, was called on to deliver Binyon’s immortal lines ‘We will remember them’ from his poem, ‘For the Fallen,’ followed by the ‘Last Post,’ played by itinerant music teacher, Tom Chester.

Following Rev Hardie’s blessing, Boys’ School Head of Curriculum, Mr Kurt Dorset, concluded the video with a ‘Lockdown Cooking Show’ to encourage the students to create a healthy Anzac Family Breakfast!

You can watch the Service here

View the photo gallery>> 

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