News, Events and Culture

City celebrates the defence force

Friday December 2 2016

A military parade with bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and swords drawn will weave its way through the central city this Saturday, 3 December.

Photo shows Mayor Grant Smith inspecting soldiers on parade.

This year's Charter Parade marks the 60th year of Palmerston North's special relationship with the defence force.

The historic event reconfirms the 1956 charters that granted Linton Military Camp and RNZAF Base Ohakea the right to parade in the city.

“The defence force has a very significant presence in the Manawatū region with Linton now the largest military camp in the country,” says Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith.

“This is a great opportunity to recognise those who dedicate their lives to serving our country and to celebrate the strong relationship the city holds with Linton Military Camp, RNZAF Base Ohakea, and the New Zealand Defence College.”

Approximately 100 soldiers and airman from Linton Military Camp and RNZAF Base Ohakea will take part in the parade which will start outside Café Express and make its way around The Square past the Cenotaph.

“This year the parade will be followed later in the day by Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Beating Retreat,” says Palmerston North City Council Chief Executive Paddy Clifford.

“This is a first for the city and will be a spectacular family friendly event featuring guns from the 16th Field Regiment of the Royal New Zealand Artillery and live music from the New Zealand Army Band and Palmerston North Brass Band.”

The Beating Retreat is a military ceremony dating to 16th century England and was first used to recall nearby patrolling units to their castle. Originally it was known as watch setting and was initiated at sunset by the firing of a single round from the evening gun.

The 1812 Overture was written in 1880 by Russian composer Tchaikovsky. It commemorated Russia's defence of the motherland against Napoleon's invading army in 1812.

“I encourage everyone to come down to The Square as it really will be an impressive sight. It’s our annual celebration of our close ties to the defence force,” says Mayor Smith.

The Charter Parade starts at 11.50am outside Café Express and will take around 40 minutes to make its way around The Square. The 1812 Overture and Beating Retreat commences at 5.30pm in the events quadrant of The Square opposite the library.

A high turnout is anticipated for both events and the Beating Retreat will be broadcast on a large screen to ensure no one misses out on the action. If weather permits there will also be a flyover.