We will remember them.
Every year since Challenge 2000 was started in 1988 we have commemorated those who served and sacrificed themselves to secure our future and have translated how we can commit ourselves to creating just and peaceful world that they strived for. We are committed to serving others, and to building a nation of justice, love and responsibility where the dignity of every person is recognised and safeguarded. Challenge 2000 is a ‘yes’ organisation and we attempt to live out the Anzac spirit in our time and place.
Whanau at the Johnsonville service
On Anzac day we remember. We remember the lives lost. We remember those who returned, changed forever. We remember the loneliness and struggle of those left at home. We remember the huge effect WW1 had on our small country and how being Anzacs shaped our identity. We remember those affected by other wars.
Lano and Matt at the Wellington Anzac service
Our staff, gap students and whanau attended the service in Johnsonville at 10am and the 11am service in Wellington. Challenge 2000 wreaths were laid by Mele Kilino-Lapana, Matt Bentley and Lano Afutoto on behalf of our whanau. It is encouraging to see our young people taking the lead and engaging in such a fundamental part of our identity.
For the first time on our new site, we held a commemoration event that included a prayer service and drama in Johnsonville. We were delighted to have so many people unite as a community and remember those who served. There was plenty of behind the scenes support from our volunteers, college students and university students. Students from Bishop Viard, St Mary’s and Wellington Girl’s were in each day in the lead up lending a hand to ensure it all went
Muscians in their element
smoothly. These amazing students baked all the Anzac biscuits, prepared the costumes and ensured they fit the cast of twenty-five, painted crosses and learnt all the old songs to be performed in the drama and service. The Anzac spirit was very much alive in the build up and the students reflected on their own family experiences of war. There were younger ones passing through during the day and students took this opportunity to share their own knowledge and explain the importance of Anzac day. We also had a number of volunteers come in throughout the week and offer their support and services, including an ex gap year student and her family who worked their magic with the artwork.
Brett Hudson reading the names of fallen soldiers from our Johnsonville whanau
Greg O’Connor reading The Ode
Wellington put on a great day for us and we were pleased to host 170 people made up of familiar and new faces. We were grateful to have our local MP’s Greg O’Connor and Brett Hudson attend and participate in the service by reading The Ode and the names of fallen soldiers from our local Johnsonville whanau. Jill Day, Deputy Mayor and Peter Gilberd, Northern Ward City Councillor were also in attendance along with representatives from the local Anglican and Catholic parishes, residents from the local rest home, representatives from the Police and The Johnsonville Charitable Trust.
Young solider being picked up for training
The family awaiting news of their beloved soldier
The programme begun with our drama set in Johnsonville where a young man volunteered to “do his bit” in 1915. We were taken on his powerful journey, one of courage, love, and sacrifice. His love story was like many others, letters exchanged throughout the war, holding onto the hope that they would one day be back together and moving forward with a promising future. This moving journey ended with a letter from a nurse who was with the young man when he died in combat “the death of these brave men who had given the last full measure of sacrifice in their country’s cause, comes as a noble inspiration to us”. The service followed this and there was not a dry eye in the crowd.
Following the service there was an opportunity for our guests to share stories over tea, scones, Anzac biscuits and cucumber sandwiches. And in the spirit of the time there was a sing-a-long of the old time songs – great to see the young and the old get involved and enjoy the tunes.
Te Po, Peter Gilberd, John Robinson, Jill Day, Savesi Apolo.
Thank you to everyone who attended our service. Anzac day reminds us of the bravery, loyalty, tenacity, love and service that our soldiers are known for. We remember the great sacrifice that was made by many to bring peace and to build this nation of ours. It falls upon each one of us now to make a commitment to serve and to sacrifice and to live positively today so we are a country that those who served before us could be proud of.
Some of the amazing cast!
We would also like to take the opportunity to thank the following people for their support of the event. Elizabeth Kennedy for the beautiful wreaths, Tim Gordon for directing the drama, Jamie McCaskill for his musical expertise, Hire master for the use of the marquee, Wellington City Council’s Barrie Hutton for setting up the sound system, The Johnsonville Charitable Trust for their ongoing support and all of the actors, actresses, musicians and behind the scenes people who made this such a great community event.