Monday, April 30, 2012

ANZAC DAY - 25 April 2012

ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, originally commemorated in 1916 by both countries to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in World War I.  Today the holiday honors all those servicemen and woman who have served their countries during war times.  It is celebrated every year on April 25 to mark the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the ANZAC in WWI.

This year we were honored to be invited to an ANZAC celebration at the Flaxmere Marae, known as the Te Aranga Marae, which has its own Facebook page if you're interested in seeing more pictures.  The party we attended was given by a landowner who was thanking his many seasonal fruit pickers (over 300) from the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and Vanuatu (a French republic in the South Pacific).  It was such an entertaining afternoon with cultural performances by all the countries, plus Maori entertainment and songs to honor the military, followed by another huge feast (hangi).  Here are a few pictures featuring some of the wonderful sites we saw that day.

This is the Te Aranga Whare Nui.  The "wh" is pronounced like an "f", so Whare (fah-ay) means building, and this is the sacred building, so "Whare Nui".  This building is used for formal greetings, special meetings, funerals, and weddings.  When a Maori dies, the family never leaves the body until it is buried, so everyone who wants to can sleep in the Whare Nui until the funeral.  If too many people are there, just the close family members sleep in the Whare Nui with the body of the deceased, and the rest sleep in another building at the Marae (which the whole area is called).

The above pictures were all performances from the Indonesian workers, such a variety.  The third performance was amazing...this is a man doing an Indonesian ballet.
This is the group from Vanuatu, and the Vanuatu workers got a lot of laughs from this dance.  These performers were "horses" being attacked by a "boar", and people from the audience were waving money for them to "fight".

These two pictures are performances from the Solomon Islands; they were really a happy group who loved performing for all of us.  Lots of picture-taking and cheering from everyone.
And these are 3 LDS women who perform regularly together.  They did a number of military songs, including some songs popular in the United States during World War II.  They have beautiful voices, and both Elder Farnes and I have been invited to sing with them when they go to nursing homes to perform!
This is another great couple we've met while we've been here, Sue and Tom Curtis, who live in Hastings and are in our ward, Hastings First.  They are the kind of member missionaries we all love because they do all they can to fellowship and befriend.  They had us over to dinner the other night to meet with a man they are helping to return to the Church, and then they invited us to attend this ANZAC celebration because Tom works at this marae and is on the board of directors.  He is their chief horticulturist.  Sister Curtis is having a birthday party for herself on May 12 and inviting her closest friends she has known for years, some of them since she was a child...and she has invited me, too.  I am so honored, and I know we will all have a wonderful time.  This party will probably be featured on one of our future blog entries.

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