More than 500 people attended the Armistice Day commemorations at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand on Sunday

Hundreds recognise Armistice

by Ann van Engelen

The Centenary of Armistice Day was observed by some 500 people in a morning of commemoration and celebration at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand last Sunday.

Reimona Crofts of Ngai Tahu opened the outdoor ceremony with a karakia followed by the Woolston Brass marching down the centre of the Museum’s car park to halt beneath the New Zealand flag and Royal New Zealand Air Force ensign.

The deputy chief of Air Force, Air Commodore Mark Brunton and local Wigram MP the Hon Dr Megan Woods made the addresses, and a bugler played the Last Post in honour of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during World War One, 1914–1918.

“At 11.00am two minutes’ silence marked the precise moment that the guns fell silent on the battlefields of Western Europe 100 years ago. You could feel the sense of solemnity in the air, as everyone in the crowd reflected on the significance of the moment,” said museum communications manager, Michelle Sim.

“The fact that all you could hear during that time was birdsong seemed very fitting. The two minutes’ silence concluded with a ‘roaring chorus of jubilant sound’, as the assembled crowd echoed the sentiment of so many a century ago when the most brutal war in human history came to an end. Some gave a ‘woop’ or a ‘hurrah’ or tossed their hat into the air, while others gave heartfelt applause.

“The Concert for Peace, at the museum’s aircraft hall involved choral and orchestral performances from Music Canterbury affiliates, including Woolston Brass, Christchurch City Choir and Christchurch School of Music Children’s Choir was a rousing tribute to those who served and lived through the First World War.”