A number of well-known Kiwis including Oscar Kightley and Antonia Prebble are lending their support to this year’s Returned and Services Association (RSA) Poppy Appeal, which runs this week.
The theme of this year’s appeal is “remember to care” – encouraging New Zealanders to honour the memory of the service people who have gone before, by supporting those still with us.
Funds raised from the Poppy Appeal are used by the RSA to all assist current and former servicemen and women (including NZ Police), and their partners, dependants and widow/widowers, with or without operational service overseas. This includes the contemporary cohort as well as older veterans of WWII.
Film maker Sir Peter Jackson has urged Kiwis to honour the more recent and ongoing service of the country’s service people.
“Remembering those who served New Zealand during the First and Second World War is important – their blood runs in our veins. But many who served in more recent times, in places such as Vietnam, Bougainville, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, are now in need of our help.
By wearing the Poppy and making a contribution on Poppy Day you are both honouring the past, and caring for those in the present.”
Sir Peter is a founding member of the RSA National Association.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople actor Oscar Kightley also supports the RSA’s recognition of the broad range of Kiwis who have served and are serving for our country.
“While the ANZACs landing at Gallipoli is probably the conflict that immediately comes to mind, there have been many times in our history when ordinary Kiwis went to fight on foreign shores for values that were held dear at home.”
“Wearing a poppy is a way we can remember those who served their country and a personal and clear display of support for the RSA and the work they do for New Zealand’s service men and women.
Actress Antonia Prebble has urged New Zealanders to give generously in 2016.
“The annual Poppy appeal is a way we can honour the memories of New Zealanders who served, and also contribute to the care of veterans and their families who have given so much and who need our help. The fact that it is 100 years since the RSA was founded gives this year even more significance.
As former All Blacks captain Wayne “Buck” Shelford says, the poppy has huge meaning to New Zealanders.
“The poppy signifies a poignant time in our nation’s history of what happened over a hundred years ago and the years since. New Zealanders will never forget the sacrifice of the soldiers, sailors and airmen. No matter what conflict they were in, they served to defend our country and maintain security in the world.
The greatest thing we can do is commemorate them for their sacrifice and wear the red poppy in their honour.”
Journalist Rachel Smalley reflects on her personal connection to the poppy and the importance of remembrance.
She says: “Anzac Day is one of the most important days of the year to me because it’s a day when I honour my great-grandfather and grandfather who fought in WWI and WWII. I think of them when I pin on my poppy.
More than ever it is important to remember what happened and why, and to honour those who fought and died in the wars. There is a very good reason we say “Lest We Forget”, because it would be a tragedy if we did.”
Tina Grant, whose husband was killed in service in Afghanistan says ““As a serving soldier, a mother and a widow it is my responsibility to keep memories of my husband alive for his children, his family and his comrades.
The Poppy signifies to me, not sadness or a reminder of blood that was shed but the beautiful, vibrant lives and memories that have been left for us to remember. Please give generously for those left behind, our veterans of whom some still struggle with daily life, and our children who continue to live without a parent. “
Student Volunteer Army founder Sam Johnson says: “We’ll be strongest as a nation if we learn from our past to navigate the future.
“ANZAC Day is a time to reflect and cherish the spirit of service in Aotearoa. The RSA’s Poppy Appeal is a tangible way we can support that spirit of service and care for those who served us in time past.”
Members of the public can support the appeal by making a donation to a Street Appeal collector on Friday 15 April. Z stations throughout the country will also have supersized poppies available to display on cars or windows. To digitally donate, people can contribute $3 by texting POPPY to 4662, or online at www.rsa.org.nz/donation.