Natural Anzac Memorial Reflects Resilience + Strength Withstanding Cyclone Gabrielle

Natural Anzac Memorial Reflects Resilience + Strength Withstanding Cyclone Gabrielle

Bronwyn Farquharson is from the local community group in Rissington, Hawke's Bay, which hosts a unique Anzac memorial carved in a 120-year-old Redwood tree that is a popular location for locals to pay their respects every Anzac day.

Following significant damage at the hands of Cyclone Gabrielle last year, Farquharson provides an update on the significant progress made in rebuilding efforts, including bridge reconstructions and road repairs. 

"We've certainly had a very busy year with all of the, you know, cleaning up and the works going on and it still continues." 

Despite the logistical challenges, the spirit in the community remains high. 

"Actually it's been a little bit frustrating for the residents there finding out exactly what's going to happen. But we've done a huge amount of clearing and restoration work in the valley by the contractors and farmers alike." 

A touching highlight is the transformation of a 120-year-old redwood tree into an Anzac memorial. The tree, which withstood the cyclone, has now become a beacon of endurance and remembrance. 

"The soldiers stood strong despite being surrounded by the floodwater and debris. In a sense, they seemed to be watching over the valley and thankfully no lives were lost here," Farquharson reflects. 

The community's artistic pulse contributes to the commemorative preparations, with local artists donating their work for fundraising. A replica Enfield rifle, crafted by artist Chris from a piece of the redwood, becomes a centrepiece of discussion. 

Farquharson expresses admiration for the effort and craftsmanship describing it as a true "work of art." The piece, along with other artworks, is set to be auctioned off to support local causes, a testament to the community's solidarity. 

The conversation encapsulates the resilient spirit of Rissington as it rebuilds and remembers. 

As she optimistically concludes, "The weather's looking good, so we'll be thinking of everybody tomorrow, that's for sure, and I hope everybody else has a great Anzac day." 

The anticipation for the upcoming Anzac Day commemoration reflects not only the respect for history but also the collective determination to move forward after adversity.

Listen to the full chat between Bronwyn Farquharson and Dominic George above.

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