News & Events

Armistice Day service commemorates sacrifice

Palmerston North will commemorate Armistice Day 2020 with a service at the Cenotaph in Te Marae o Hine – The Square.

Heritage photo shows large group of people surrounding a tank parked in front of the Soldiers' Club, which is flying the NZ flag.

WWI fundraising in Palmerston North. Photo: Manawatū Heritage.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918, Germany and the Allies signed an armistice to end fighting in World War I.

New Zealand marked the end of hostilities in a pandemic climate similar to what the world is facing today with Covid-19, the 1918 influenza epidemic.

Service Master of Ceremonies Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Joe Hollander, RNZE, who is also chairman of the Palmerston North Anzac Armistice Day Organising Committee, says on Armistice Day the country’s contribution towards the Allied efforts during World War I is acknowledged.

“We commemorate the emergence of the Anzac spirit and sacrifices made by those from Palmerston North, the wider Manawatū and New Zealand as a whole. More than 1,000 soldiers from this area made the ultimate sacrifice,” Hollander says.

The New Zealand History website records that World War I claimed around 18,000 New Zealand lives (either in or because of the war) – a further 41,000 were wounded or became ill. There were more, as a result of New Zealanders fighting with other Allied forces. Of those killed, 2,779 were at Gallipoli and 12,000 on the Western Front. To put these figures in context, in 1914 the population of New Zealand was 1.1 million. The influenza pandemic killed a further 9,000 New Zealanders between October and December 1918.

The gathering will be formally welcomed by Mayor Grant Smith and Wiremu Te Awe Awe, of Rangitāne. The Services Address will be given by Colonel Stefan Michie, DSD, Commander 1st (NZ) Brigade, Linton Camp.

The public is asked to gather at the Cenotaph from 10.45am. Veterans and serving personnel are asked to meet at the i-SITE for a short march to the Cenotaph. The clocktower bells will ring at the start and end of the service. The wet weather venue is the Elwood Room at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre.

The youth voice will be heard through a speech from Palmerston North Boys’ High School’s John Hopcroft. Usually, the winner of the annual Palmerston North RSA Youth Speech Competition speaks at Armistice, but this year’s contest was a casualty of Covid-19. The speech competition prompts the younger generation to think about the impact of war. Hopcroft was placed second in last year’s event.

The full programme follows below.

Mayor Grant Smith says such commemorative occasions respect Palmerston North’s close New Zealand Defence relationships, with Linton Military Camp and RNZAF Base Ohakea in the region. In 1956, Palmerston North gave the Defence Force the keys to the city in recognition of its contribution to our region and our country. The 1956 Charters granted Linton Military Camp and the Royal NZ Air Force the right to parade in the city with bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating, and bands playing.

“It is important successive generations understand the sacrifices made towards the freedoms and lives we are able to live today,” Smith says.

“People will want to gather to mark Armistice Day, after Anzac Day parades and services were affected during lockdown. Anzac Day showed us how resilient we are towards acknowledging what is important to us. Now we have the freedom to gather, we can show our support to our military men and women at home and around the world, by commemorating history and supporting the great work they do.”

Colonel Michie says this year the New Zealand Army is itself acknowledging 175 years of service, having been involved in various and multiple theatres of conflict around the world, including both World Wars, during that time.

“Marking the signing of the armistice is an important event as we honour the service and sacrifice of all New Zealanders who served during the First World War. It’s also a time to recognise and acknowledge the courage of families of those who served during that turbulent time in our history.

“Our military personnel continue to serve New Zealand in the community, the nation and across the world. The challenge of Covid-19, in particular, reminds us of the vital role the NZDF plays in protecting the nation.”

Poppy Places launch

Following the Armistice Day service, the Mayor will join New Zealand Poppy Places Trust chairman Colonel (Rtd) Terry McBeth, from Upper Hutt, and Commander, 1 (NZ) Brigade Colonel Stefan Michie at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre for the launch of the next six streets of significance signs, which are all at Linton Military Camp.

Poppy Places is a national street and site recognition project that commemorates those who have served overseas in the armed services or places with military importance. Street and place signs with military connections are embellished with a poppy symbol.

Last year, Palmerston North became the first city in New Zealand to complete its Poppy Places installations, a total of 31. Linton Camp last year received the first 11 of its Poppy Places signs. This year, Linton Camp will add poppies to six street signs. More poppies will be added to camp signs during 2021, 2022 and 2023. This year’s signs are:

42nd Street: Named for a street in Chania, Crete, where ANZAC units formed a rear guard to protect the rest of the Commonwealth forces that were being pushed south by the Germans.

Dieppe Place: Named after the Dieppe Raid, or Battle of Dieppe, where Allied troops invaded the German-occupied French port town on 19 August,1942. New Zealand forces were based in the Dieppe Barracks in Singapore, until 1989.

Gunners Lane: Named as a tribute to all gunners - Infantry Battalion and Mounted Rifles. 1NZ Machine Gun (known as Auckland Company), 2nd NZMG, (known as Canterbury Company), 3rd NZMG (known as Otago Company), 4th NZMG (known as Wellington Company). 1st NZMG SQN, 2nd NZMG SQN and NZMG Corps Reserve Depot.

Malacca Grove: Named for the Commonwealth Forces and New Zealand camp in Terendak, Malaya.

Soldiers Lane: In remembrance of all who have served as part of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Taiping Terrace: Named for the original Commonwealth Forces and New Zealand camp near the town of Ipoh, in Perak Province, northern Malaya.

The launch is 12pm at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre, 354 Main Street.

Korean War presentation

On the evening of Wednesday 11 November, between 5.30pm and 7pm at the Globe Theatre, a talk will be held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War and New Zealand’s involvement in the conflict. Presented by Dr Ian McGibbon, ONZM (ex-Chief Historian, Ministry of Culture and Heritage), it will consider the origins and course of the war and his reflections of his visit to the Demilitarized Zone in 2019.

Armistice Day parade and service programme

  • 10.45am: Assembly and march-on
  • 11am: Service and introduction – Opening by the Master of Ceremonies, Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Joe Hollander, RNZE (PNRSA).
  • Formal welcome: Wiremu Te Awe Awe, Rangitāne and His Worship The Mayor, Grant Smith, Palmerston North City Council.
  • The Lesson: New Zealand Defence Force Chaplain CL3 Janie McPhee.
  • Services address: Colonel Stefan Michie, DSD, Commander, 1st (NZ) Brigade, Linton Camp.
  • Youth address: John Hopcroft, Palmerston North Boys’ High School
  • Prayer for the Fallen: New Zealand Defence Force Chaplain CL3 Janie McPhee
  • Wreath laying
  • The Lament: Jim Farley, Pipes and Drums of Palmerston North
  • The Ode: Private Hana Wainohu, RNZALR, 2nd Engineer Regiment, Linton Camp and Wing Commander Peter Hurly, RNZAF (PNRSA)
  • Last Post: Bugler – Corporal Tim Cook, New Zealand Army Band Reserve
  • One-minute silence
  • Reveille: Corporal Tim Cook, New Zealand Army Band Reserve
  • New Zealand National Anthem: Supported by Unity Singers Choir
  • Closure of service: Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Joe Hollander, RNZE (PNRSA).