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Whatchamacallit 45: First World War Centenary Lapel Pin (New Zealand)

Anzac Day Lapel Pin

I visited Auckland in 2015 twice, both times very briefly: the first stop I had a 7-hour layover, the second stop was 25.5 hours.

Neither were really long: with 7 hours – and an early morning arrival – I headed out of the terminal, into the country, visiting, first, a grocery store and, second, the Villa Maria winery, where I got a tour and lunch, before heading back to the airport for my onward flight to Samoa.

The second visit was also tightly packed: Arriving at 6:30pm, I stayed in a hotel near the city center, had Indian food for dinner, and fell soundly asleep rather early. The next day I took a one-on-one walking tour of the city and then went to the Auckland Museum, which has a fantastic Polynesian art collection. This day in Auckland was April 26th and the newspapers were talking about Poppy Day – which confused me because, as I know Poppy Day, it happens on November 11th. It is when the UK and other Commonwealth Countries remember. In the words of the British Legion, the red poppy symbolizes:

Our red poppy is a symbol of both Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future. Poppies are worn as a show of support for the Armed Forces community. The poppy is a well-known and well-established symbol, one that carries a wealth of history and meaning with it.

Having been in the UK in the weeks leading up to November 11th, I have purchased a couple of red poppies and displayed them while in the UK. This is not really an observed day in Germany.

Needless to say, I was confused by the presence of poppies in April, but was quick to learn that New Zealand and Australian celebrate Anzac Day in April. It is, per Wikipedia,

a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918).

As an American, whose World War I history knowledge is relatively limited, I had been completely unaware of the Gallipoli Campaign and, in general, of the contributions of Australia and New Zealand to World War I.

I believe that I bought this lapel pin at the Auckland Museum gift shop – paying NZD 4.99 for it. The price sticker is on the back of the package. It specifically remembers the centenary of World War I, from 2014 through 2019. I’ve never opened the package, never taken the lapel pin out – the paper is slightly bent, but not cracked.

This lives on the bulletin board in the hallway to my kitchen – so I see it fairly often. When I pause to consider it, I remember that freedom is not free and that many people have sacrificed their lives.

I’ve never visited the New Zealand WW100 website, but it is still available to browse.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

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