Wairuatanga

WFR

Frederick William Reynolds

– Army

  • World War I, 1914-1918 – WWI 6/3139
  • World War II, 1939-1945- , WWII 584328

On Thursday the 25th of April in New Zealand, we remembered ANZAC Day. A day most of us associate with a holiday. However the day means so much more than that. ‘ANZAC’ stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. ANZAC day is the most important national commemorative occasions because it marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Each year I remember my paternal grandfather because he served in both world wars. He enlisted when he just turned 18 years old and served until he was well into his forties. The second part of his service happened when his children grew up without his home presence and his wife was gravely ill.

War records indicated that in 1915 he enlisted when he was 18 years old and was sent to Egypt. His skills as a rifleman were legendary. That and having 20/20 vision in both eyes meant he was a sniper. War records showed his role.  

In 1917 he was injured and transferred to Hornchurch Hospital in England. Family stories share how he was gassed and developed rheumatic fever for which eventually he was allowed to return home to Loburn, Canterbury New Zealand.

He purchased his own apple orchard and spent the next phase of his life growing apples in his own orchard in Loburn, just out of Rangiora near Christchurch. My father tells stories of returned servicemen gathering at the orchard both for work and for reminiscence. When the second world war broke out my grandfather was back in service but this time leaving a wife and two children to look after the family business.

Loburn Family History

At my school this year, my team created an assembly to highlight what we learnt about ANZAC day.

Then in the holiday’s we visited the War memorial at Newmarket park that has one of our past assistant principal’s name engraved on the memorial. Several of our students took part in the Newmarket Business Parade down Broadway to Newmarket park.

This post allows me to unpack my understanding of Wairuatanga. When we stood together at Newmarket Park and heard the birds and the wind through the trees, I felt the wairua of the place. I think of Cyril Moore who lost his life at 32 years old. As we reflected on all those who had fallen during the first world war and those who returned changed by the experience of war. We remember their families and whanau. 

We remember the thousands of young people who lost their lives for king and country. We remember the other side too, who were defending their homelands from invaders.

 

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