Monday, May 11, 2015

Anzac Day - Part 2

The service we were planning on attending for Anzac Day was taking place at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. What no one had mentioned to us was that the museum is free on Anzac Day. Crowded, but free.

Everyone rocks a poppy on Anzac Day, including us...

and the museum grounds.

We had plenty of time to wander the museum, which had more exhibits than either of us were expecting. There is an entire floor dedicated to Maori and Pacific Island history, and the museum has the largest collection of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts in the world. It's filled with intricately carved tikis, spears, boats and even a building called Hotunui, which the museum is in the process of restoring.

One of the panels up close and personal

Apparently, only men were allowed to carve, and the wood was considered sacred. Any scraps had to be burnt so they weren't used for a cooking fire. Or touched by women.

The second floor is  home to the natural history galleries. It was my least favorite floor.

Finally, the top floor is the history of New Zealand's involvement in World Wars I and II and New Zealand Wars. Because it was Anzac Day, very crowded, and it felt slightly inappropriate, I took very few pictures. There is an incredible exhibit called Scars on the Heart, which was created using personal experiences of the men and women of the armed forces and those who stayed behind.
Here's the one picture I did snap, because it made me laugh.

Having gotten our fill of the museum, we made our way outside to the cenotaph where the service was going to be held.

All of the chairs you see here would eventually be filled by veterans and the families of veterans. The service started with the honor guard filing in.

Photo credit: Katie

The guard had the privilege of standing facing the cenotaph for the whole service... which clocked in at over an hour. Their ability to stand still is far, far greater than mine. I once had a yoga teacher tell me to stop fidgeting.

The veterans, active military, and various military groups filed in changing our view slightly, but definitely for the better.

The service was very moving, with one flaw. Which wasn't actually part of the service. The worst dog in the world was behind us. It barked incessantly and liked to lunge at other dogs. The worst part though was the smell. It was a horrible combination of dirty dog and excessive flatulence, of course upwind from us.

After the service, we decided to take much needed naps before going out. We've known each other over 15 years and had never gone out before. 

The real highlight was when at our 3rd bar of the night, California Gurls came on and Katie and I lost our collective minds. There was dancing, singing, and wild gesturing to convey that we were in fact California girls which no one noticed much to our disappointment. Anzac night was sponsored in large part by tequila. Thanks tequila. 

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