Yesterday was a good day.
It began well, with a nice soft light across the Boulcott’s Farm Heritage Golf club. It promised a nice day ahead.
In the city there was to be a rather unique parade. On the day before ANZAC day, Sir Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, etc) made available some of his personal collection of WWI military vehicles for a parade to include bands, horses and people in period costume. I went to the city early to ensure a place on e parade route. As always, I was far too early so I had a coffee in Midland Park where I tried yet again to make something of Silvia Salgado’s fountain in the park entitled “Nga Korerorero – Ongoing Talk”
I walked around the participating vehicles in the grounds of parliament, and then staked out a place on Lambton Quay where I thought to have a good view. The parade started on time at 12:30 pm and an early crowd favourite was the horse-drawn artillery piece with outriders and foot soldiers. They were warmly applauded.
Their applause, however was overshadowed by the cheers and hilarity that accompanied the two sturdy lads trudging behind the gun, scooping up anything the horses left behind. Scatological humour is never far from the surface in New Zealand.
The vehicles were splendidly presented, and driven by people wearing the drill khaki uniforms of the WWI soldier. I wore such a uniform back when military training was a compulsory part of secondary schools for boys. I can attest that they are itchy, heavy, and uncomfortable.
There were three pipe bands (well separated) and a brass band in the parade, ans a contingent of New Zealand Territorial soldiers looking very smart in their dress uniform. A big surprise to me, however, was the appearance of a band and a detachment of Gurkhas from Nepal. This is a fighting force with a military reputation second to none.
Among the vehicles on display was an American Field Service ambulance, complete with uniformed nurse and crew. All too soon the parade was over and I was lucky to be close enough to the parliament bus stop that I caught a bus almost immediately back to the valley.
Since the day was so beautiful and the time was still early, I detoured to Hikoikoi to see if our heron was really back. He was. I was just lining up when I heard the distinctive sound of three WWI biplanes passing over in formation. Yet another part of Sir Peter’s collection was participating in this ANZAC observance. Two SE5as and an Airco DH5 flew past on their way to the parade’s conclusion. Magnificent. Wellington owes a debt of gratitude to Sir Peter for generously sharing his collection with the rest of us. Of course there were many volunteers wh also made the parade possible, but without his astounding collection the parade would not have happened.
Having found the heron, it would be churlish not to use at least one of the images of the day.