18 Apr 2009

Air Force wants NZers to mark Anzac Day in Wairarapa village

12:09 pm on 18 April 2009

The Air Force is helping promote the Wairarapa village of Tinui as an Anzac Day alternative to Gallipoli.

The village is the site of the world's first Anzac memorial service, held in 1916.

Each year thousands of New Zealanders make their way to Gallipoli for Anzac Day to commemorate New Zealanders killed there during World War I.

Local services are also witnessing a rise in numbers, and now Tinui wants to promote itself as a site of significance.

Squadron Leader Paul Stockley says the Air Force wants to help the settlement attract an annual pilgrimage.

"(Tinui) is the very first place in the world that held an Anzac Day service, it's a place that can be recognised as such, and if people wish to partake in a service that has a significant historical aspect to it, then Tinui can be an option," Paul Stockley says.

"It's not a replacement for Gallipoli because I do believe that would be quite wrong."

The Returned and Services Association welcomes Tinui as a memorial site but would like local smaller services to continue being supported.

Earlier this month the RSA urged New Zealanders to spread out their visits to Gallipoli instead of descending in droves on 25 April. Its president questioned whether such concentrated tourism at the site is acceptable or sustainable.