Paraparaumu Anzac Day service: Small group command stage to espouse views

The end of an Anzac Day service, on a rugby field beside a war memorial arch, in Paraparaumu, has been clouded in controversy.

The shortened service, hosted by Paraparaumu RSA, which began at 7am, was going according to plan but took a twist towards the end.

“At what was supposed to be the conclusion of the shortened planned service, the Paraparaumu RSA president gave the podium and the mike to a group of four people that did not identify themselves but from their garb were clearly self-appointed ‘common law sheriffs’,” service attendee Jake Roos said.

“There was a fellow with a goatee and a red beret, two people in black paramilitary garb with stab vests and caps emblazoned with yellow ‘sheriff’ stars, and a fourth person, a woman with pink hair, who was wearing black shorts and top.

“This last person started giving a rambling speech about the Anzacs.

“Once I realised who they were, and that they were making a pathetic gambit for legitimacy using the mana of the event and the captive, mostly unwitting audience, I left, as did some others.

“I shouted ‘these people have no authority’ as I did so.”

The group was told by Paraparaumu RSA president Philip Simpson because freedom of speech was a human right — something our troops had fought for — they would be given a short time after the Anzac Day service concluded.

But when that point was reached the group tried to use various speakers to promote a 10-point law review.

As various Anzac Day supporters began to walk away in apparent disgust, and police stood by as the group tried to push their case, Simpson concluded the service and the group were left to talk with any remaining supporters.

“We tried a reasonable approach to avoid unnecessary disruptions on what for us is a very special day but the actions of a few were clearly unacceptable.”

On a positive note, Anzac Day in Paraparaumu was a huge success with more than 2000 attending despite the Covid climate.

“It was heart-warming to see the strong flow of local people arriving at the domain for the service, many with small children, to once again take part in an Anzac Day service.

“It reinforced for the RSA the strong bonds many people have for an event which recognises the sacrifices of those who never came home, those who are currently serving, and the dependants they leave behind.”

Source: Read Full Article