Tena koutou katoa

We Must Remember.

Today we stand together to recognise the sacrifice made by men and woman of your district, who served their country with honour and bravery.  Today is made even more special by remembering that exactly 100 years ago John Herbert Cock, a prominent member of the Nelson district was killed in action while serving in the Royal Flying Corp.

It is a great privilege to honour the sacrifice of our veterans and serving people and their contribution to the freedom, peace and security we at home are able to enjoy.

The one hundredth anniversary of the First World War has provided a catalyst for many centenary commemorative events, activities and legacy projects throughout the country under a World War 100 Programme supported by the Lottery WWI Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee and local communities.

Each project tells a story about the community that was affected by those events long ago.  With the passing of the years, there was a decline in attendance at Anzac commemorations, but it has been heartening to see how new generations of New Zealanders have been eager to learn the history of their families, of their local communities and of their nation, and come together again in increasing numbers at Anzac commemorations to reflect upon and honour the service of our veterans. 

Amongst the assembly today are veterans of many conflicts New Zealand has been involved in.  It was a pleasure to meet some Veterans who served during the Second World War and those who have been party to more contemporary conflicts.  It was an immense effort and sacrifice these men and woman have made in keeping peace and protecting our nation in the battlefield.

Congratulations to the Nelson community, including the Nelson City Council and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, for rallying funding and support, around this project.  Your community has a memorial of which to be very proud.

Sergeant Mason Robinson has made a tremendous effort, not only for his tireless work on this project but his tremendous effort in harnessing support for this project, including bringing the various veterans’ groups together and coordinating today’s parade.

We must acknowledge the work of Don Patterson whose statue depicts a First World War veteran who has seen battle – a face some of you will find mirrored your own at one point during your service.  The 3 Field Squadron Royal New Zealand Engineers who built the memorial in which this soldier rests, LCpl Andrew Good, in charge of the task, and Sgt Robbie Skerten who performed liaison with Local Construction.  We also acknowledge Colonel Paul King Deputy Commander 1 Brigade and Major Kevin Fee Officer Commanding the squadron

It is with pride that I declare the Marsden Cemetery War Memorial – open.

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