Sunday, April 26

ANZAC Day in Rarotonga

ANZAC Day is a public holiday in the Cook Islands and is celebrated with a dawn service and a parade and wreath-laying ceremony at the war memorial which is now situated at the front of the courthouse.
There was controversy this year as ANZAC Day fell on a Saturday and the market stalls and many shops decided to open. Stallholders said Saturday was their most profitable day but some people thought it showed a lack of respect.
The advantage of a Saturday ceremony was that many people who were out shopping stopped to look and listen whereas on weekday public holidays the town is usually deserted!
We were lucky with the weather. The day started dull but dry and by 11 o’clock it was fine and sunny. Right now the Cooks are at the centre of a huge area of cloud and today (Sunday) it’s been raining most of the day and there is 100% cloud cover. It’s supposed to stay that way until Thursday according to the forecasts.
The ANZAC Day church service was held at Avarua CICC and following this the old soldiers (as well as sailors and airmen – male and female) marched to the courthouse followed by the Boys’ Brigade brass band. The uniformed organisations also joined the parade and by the time they reached the cenotaph it was an impressive display.
This first video is of the initial march leaving Avarua church.