November 2020 Newsletter
On Sunday 8th November we commemorated our “Remembrance Sunday” with a Parade and Service attended by our members, accompanied by members of Devonport Fire service, students from local schools wearing T-Shirts saying “We walk to remember” and a large number of the community.
For those who missed it, I attach the Programme. The address was delivered by a 14-year-old Takapuna Grammar student, Maurice Malloch, who was the winner of our speech competition. Wreaths were laid by myself and my wife, Joy, on behalf of the RSA, Simon Watts, our local Member of Parliament, and Trish Deans and Ruth Jackson representing the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, the Fire Brigade and representatives of our local youth. Beautiful singing from AMUS Rebecca Nelson and Belmont Primary School choir “Bellbirds”.
After the ceremony and a return march to our RSA the Pipes and Drums played some tunes for us and two very young ladies displayed their Highland dancing skills. Many visitors and members enjoyed refreshments and we received many applications to join and many appreciative comments. I would like to thank our team for their organisation. We owe them a lot.
On Wednesday 11th November, Bill Rimmer a member of the Royal New Zealand Artillery Band was at the Devonport Cenotaph to play the bugle for the Last Post and the Rouse.
The Ensign has been proudly flying over our Field of Remembrance on Windsor Reserve. This display has been appreciated by our community.
When we put out the Santa letter-box we hope that the community will value our contribution to the festive season. We may need some Santas to respond and hope we get some volunteers.
Soon we will be sending out the invitation to our Christmas Function to be held in Devonia Hall at 1100 on Tuesday 15 December 2020. At the same time we will be sending out the 2021 subscription notice. These subscriptions are due on 31 December 2020.
We will be glad to say goodbye to 2020 which has been a very disrupted year and look forward to a more settled 2021.
At last we are back to level one. There seems little prospect of us going to level zero anytime soon. We still recommend hand washing, social distancing and mask use if in close contact. We have done well and have not had a single Covid-19 case, so we can pat ourselves on the back.
Numbers at our Monday meetings have been low lately, but we carry on. On Wednesday our Youth Ambassador, Ella Cronshaw, organised a Mufti Day at Takapuna Grammar School. Students in mufti were asked to contribute a gold coin for our Poppy Day Trust and were given a poppy in return. One lad had no change, so he went to the café to purchase a muffin and then returned to donate, and he presented me with the muffin. I was able to share it with some of the Navy personnel who were assisting us with the collection (thanks to Rebecca).
This Thursday 22 October at 1500 we will be having a short service with the Martin family and the O’Connor family to unveil the memorial plaques in our foyer. Members are invited to be present. Light refreshments will be provided, and the bar will be open.
This year, because we have not had an Anzac Day parade and commemorative service, we are having a parade and service on Sunday 8 November commencing at 1030 to commemorate Remembrance Sunday, rather than on Wednesday 11 November. We will be putting out the Field of Remembrance on Windsor Reserve at 1500 on Sunday 1 November. Volunteers are required to help Max Laloli and his team, who have refurbished the crosses.
If possible, we encourage you all to keep the following dates free to support events at your R.S.A.
No meeting on Labour Day October 26.
Monday November 2 – (1100-1400) Next Members Meeting.
Tuesday December 15 – (1100-1400) Christmas Luncheon more details to follow.
Stanley Bay School have some fantastic photos of ex-pupils at the school. They are keen to make contact with any ex-pupils so that they can be identified in the photos and be interviewed about their days at the school. Contact Kelly Seaburg. firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently, our Local Support Advisor, Gail Kennett, made contact to offer support to a Navy Officer who had lost everything in a house fire. He was touched and sent us a thank you letter and challenge medal from HMNZS Aotearoa. His letter is attached.
Looking forward to catching up with you all,
Thankfully, we have returned to Covid-19 alert level 2 restrictions. This means that we can resume our normal 1100 Monday member meetings next week on 28 September. We really look forward to seeing you all again.
You will get a chance to meet our new Manager, Stephen Millham, and our new Local Support Advisor, Gail Kennett. Please bring along your Poppy Day trust claims so that they can be prepared for payment.
To welcome you back, we will have some special raffles as well as our normal ones. Sadly, we have not been able to retain our Food and Beverage Manager, Daiana Mose, and we were sad to see her leave. So, we are on the look again and will be advertising online. Please help spread the word.
We are planning to hold a parade and service on Sunday 8 November 2020 at 1030 to commemorate Remembrance Day, although this actually falls on Wednesday 11 November this year. We have sought Auckland Council approval but there are issues with Traffic Management which we are trying to overcome. Also, we will be collecting for our Poppy Day Trust Fund on that weekend.
In the meantime, please keep washing your hands regularly, use a mask when in close contact and use the tracer app on your phone or sign in wherever you go. We will beat this virus.
Recently we were on the search to hire two new people to join our Devonport RSA team and we were inundated with applicants. After many interviews we shortlisted two fantastic people.
Please welcome to the Devonport RSA:
Stephen Millham our Devonport RSA Manager
Stephen emigrated to New Zealand from Wales in 1995 where he completed a Diploma at Waiariki Polytech Rotorua.
He then held two roles with Auckland District Health Board including Cardiac Physiologist before joining the insurance industry to utilise his medical knowledge.
He spent thirteen years in the industry working through to the role of Health & Life Claims Manager and Underwriter.
After leaving the corporate insurance world in 2018 he spent 2019 travelling the world with his family.
Stephen is looking forward to joining the team at the Devonport RSA and working closely with the local community.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name Stephen Millham I am your new Devonport RSA Manager. I was looking forward to meeting you all next Monday, however with the new Covid restrictions in Auckland we need to push out our meeting. This means our first meeting back will be Monday 14th September, at 1100.
If there are any members who are having difficulties during this time please feel free to contact our new Local Support Advisor, Gail Kennett, who is available at email@example.com or phone 027 315 8001. She would love to hear from you.
Looking forward to meeting you all in person on Monday 14th September.
Gail Kennett our Local Support Advisor
Gail is a local Devonport resident, married to Maurice (Muzz) Kennett who is in the Navy. They have two adult children and one Granddaughter. While their children were growing up they both were involved in the local community being active in Playcentre, Stanley Bay School, Scouts, Softball and Soccer clubs to name a few. During this time, she was also doing voluntary work for what was then the dept of Social Welfare.
This was followed by a long career working in the Dockyard in the Supply Chain area. Most recently as the Procurement Manager for Babcock (NZ) with responsibilities that included Purchasing, Contracting and Supplier Relationships.
Being a “Navy wife” and working very closely with the Navy has given Gail an appreciation for how being in the services can impact on your everyday life not just on the serving member but also their families.
She is now looking forward to becoming part of an organisation where you support each other not only in times of need but also in remembrance and care of those impacted by service to our country.
Hi everyone, unfortunately due to the recent outbreak of Covid19 and cancellation of the members meetings I have not been able to meet as many of you as I had hoped. This being the first update I have provided I thought it timely to share a bit more about me and what I want to bring to the role.
I gave up fulltime work just over a year ago in order to spend more time with my granddaughter and family, more time travelling and at the beach. Although I didn’t want to go back to work fulltime, I was beginning to feel I needed more. When I saw the advertisement for the Local Support Advisor, I knew that this was exactly the type of role I was looking for. What you can expect from me is honesty, confidentiality and a genuine willingness to play a key role in providing support to veterans and ex-service members and their families.
I will provide regular input into the newsletters and would welcome suggestions of any issues you would like me to address or provide advice and or support on.
So we can ensure you are kept informed and have all the support you need we will be revalidating membership information so we will be contacting you either by phone, visit or email to ensure we have the most up to date information.
I feel privileged to now be a part of an organisation where you join in camaraderie, support each other not only in times of need but also in remembrance and care of those impacted by service to our country.
As a local resident of Devonport some of you may already know me, and for those of you who don’t, if you see me around the village please feel free to introduce yourself.
I can be contacted anytime if you need any support or would like me to visit with you.
Devonport RSA LSA
Phone: 027 315 8001
A note from the President
Here we are in our second week of lockdown 2.0 and the countdown to Level Two is on. I have been thinking of you all during this time and I hope you are all coping ok.
I have managed to keep myself busy in the garden amidst all the rain showers. The garden is now prepared for all the spring growth.
Joy was feeling unwell last week so we decided to go join the queue to get her tested. After waiting five and a half hours we were turned away but don’t you worry we headed back the next day and fortunately, the test proved negative. A tip for next time: take a good book to read while you wait.
It’s been great catching up on the phone with a few of our members and to hear how you are all getting on.
Stephen and Gail are already busy working behind the scenes. We are really looking forward to growing our RSA and building our relationship with you all and the community.
Stay safe and looking forward to see you all soon,
Remembrance Army Update
While the weather outside hasn’t been the best it has done wonders at O’Neills Point Cemetery.
After spraying the headstones last year 3 times the rain has been working its magic. Below are a couple before and after photos of the headstones. We are looking forward to heading back there to finish off the job and get our NZDF personnel restored.
We are having to react to restrictions on activities at level 3. Therefore, we had to abandon the commemoration of VJ Day yesterday. Many thanks to those who were going to attend and march in the parade.
There will be no Monday members meeting tomorrow 17 August. We were planning to introduce our new Manager, Stephen Milham, and our new Local Support Advisor, Gail Kennett, at that meeting. We will await further information about our ability to meet in a fortnight’s time.
Together with Trish, the daughter of Jim Williamson, who died during our first lockdown, we were planning a memorial serrvice at Holy Trinity Church in Devonport on Saturday 29 August. This service may have to be delayed or curtailed.
We hope that everyone is able to manage through this lockdown. If you are having difficulties, do not hesitate to contact our Local Support Advisor Gail, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 027 315 8001.
In the meantime, stay home, keep social distance, wear a mask if in close proximity to others outside your bubble and wash your hands frequently. Be kind, be safe and stay well.
It is really great to see so many of our members at the fortnightly meetings and luncheons. The new hygiene measures, along with the revised menu and table service, seem to be working well. We look forward to more people enjoying our facilities in the following months.
At our first meeting back post lockdown I provided an update from the recent meeting of the Auckland District Presidents. At this meeting the RNZRSA Chair outlined their structure and perspective on what is happening going forward and this has formed the basis of my notes below.
The Board are all volunteers who manage the governance of the RNZRSA, which is mainly strategic oversight of financial and operational risks to the RSA movement as a whole. The National President and the District Presidents Forum are the elected representatives who represent the RSA membership on Remembrance, Support and Advocacy matters.
Due to tighter fiscal restraints on the organisation, Head Office has not filled three positions and is now working with six full time staff. The Government Grant given to the National Support Services team to deliver support programs, training and operational outputs, is in its final year and expires by July 2021. National Office do sponsorship deals from time to time to try and get discounts for RSA members, ex and current serving NZDF personnel and their families. The President Forum decided that the funds collected by the Give a Little Collection Campaign, run by Perpetual Guardian for Poppy Day over lockdown, would be held centrally at National Office with each District able to draw on $30,500 for welfare and support of ex and current serving NZDF personnel and their families. The funds will be controlled by District Presidents.
Due to the cancellation of Poppy Day this year, our focus is to plan a new date to hold a local Poppy Collection in the Devonport/ Takapuna area. With Remembrance Day fast approaching, it makes sense to hold one around that date so, we are hitting the streets of Devonport on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of November to collect for our area. If you would like to help please do let us know. We are also hoping to hold a Remembrance Service/ Parade on Sunday 8th November and currently waiting to hear back from the Auckland Council for sign off. We will let you know once this is confirmed.
Since the update of our building we have regular weekly bookings for a variety of classes including art, yoga, dancing and of course Toast Masters. Itâs so great having the community back in the building and the feedback is very positive. We are also being booked for large and small functions including a charity event for St Leos Primary School and the launch of our tenant Bear Brothers new book âTwo Bears in a Bubbleâ. Make sure you stop by Janetâs store and purchase a copy - $5 of every book sold is donated to the RSA.
You will be pleased to know we are in the middle of updating our sound system which will result in a much better quality and of course you will be able to hear us clearly at the fortnightly meetings. Hopefully we will have this up and running by August.
If you read the Devonport Flagstaff or follow us on our Facebook page, you would have seen the Speech Competition we have organised. A great initiative from our Vice President, Red Beatson with the help of our Youth Ambassador, Ella Cronshaw. We are looking forward to reviewing all the speeches that come through.
We regretfully announce the resignation of our Secretary, Peter Skogstad. We are extremely grateful for all the hard work he has done for the Devonport RSA. Peter is a pleasure to work with and we wish him all the best on his next journey.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the next meeting.
Keep safe, keep warm, and wash your hands.
Congratulations to you all and everyone around New Zealand, we have made it to Level 1 and currently have no known active cases of COVID-19! It was wonderful to see the way we all united and played our part in eliminating the virus. As the global pandemic continues to grip the world, we are fortunate to be in a position where we can move about more freely and we are excited to restart our Monday morning meetings.
Update to Monday Members Meetings
Monday 22 June 2020 will be our first meeting back at the Devonport RSA and we are really looking forward to seeing you all there.
In order to keep our members safe and healthy, we will be asking everyone to adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines.
Welcome Daiana Mose
We would like to welcome our new Food and Beverage Manger, Daiana Mose. Some of you may recognise her from the Devonport Golf Club. Daiana brings a wealth of hospitality experience and will be a wonderful addition to the Devonport RSA. She will be helping to manage the bar and will also help run the table service as we adapt to the new way of operating.
Thank You Bear Brothers
âThe lock down was a difficult time for many local businesses, The Devonport RSA Memorial Trust acknowledged this and took the initiative to offer our tenants a rent holiday. Janet Bingham of Bear Brothers has written a book about her experience of the lockdown and expressed her gratitude to the Memorial Trust and the RSA for their kindness. She would like to show her thanks by donating $5 from every book sale to the Devonport RSA Poppy Trust. This shows true community spirit, we are very thankful to Janet for her kind acknowledgement and donation and encourage you to support her and check out the book.
The book launch is next week on Friday 19 June at 1730 to 1930 in the RSA. The book can also be purchased at her store.
We have received many lovely emails from our members about their Easter care parcels and also about their unique Anzac Day experiences. Patrick sent in this lovely email.
âIt was quite something celebrating the Anzac parade outside one's own front door. I live in a pensioner unit that happens to be opposite two or three naval homes at the bottom end of Preston Avenue. At the time of the parade there were several naval families opposite observing the dawn service alongside us pensioners and with help of the radio broadcast turned in and a small line of participants holding candles on both sides of the Avenue in the darkness it was all rather erie but at the same time very stirring and I must say it brought a lump in my throat during the Last Post.â
Remembrance Army Update
âRebecca Nelson, the Remembrance Army and the Royal New Zealand Navy have been very busy cleaning up the graves at OâNeillâs Cemetery. There are over 200 graves that meet the Remembrance Army criteria including a mixture of military graves and civilians that have ties to the military. You can see some of the amazing results below. Great work everyone!
At our next Executive Committee meeting next week we will be planning for upcoming functions and we will let you know on Monday 22 June of the details. We can be proud of ourselves as New Zealanders. Let us celebrate it.
Your Executive Committee met Tuesday evening, (observing social distancing), and decided that we would wait until we see what level one regulations are binding on us before we return to our Monday meetings. Certainly, we will not recommence before 8 June 2020. Also, there will have to be changes with the way we operate.
However, we do look forward to welcoming you all back to our facilities. We have been thinking of you and via our telephone tree have tried to keep in touch. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you are having difficulties that we can address.
Sadly, we lost Jim Williamson, who went for a walk and had a fall and a brain bleed but died before he was got to hospital. Because of COVID-19 restrictions a memorial service has not yet been held and I hope to be able to go to recite the “Ode” for him when we find out when it will be held.
For two years in a row, our usual Anzac Day commemorations have been disrupted by external factors. However, it was wonderful to see so many of our community “Standing at Dawn” as suggested by our national RNZRSA.
We will have participation from school students who will be competing in a speech competition with the prize winners contributing their speech at our Remembrance Ceremony.
This Friday, Rebecca will be overseeing Navy personnel cleaning and restoring the gravestones of soldiers in O’Neill’s Point Cemetery.
In the meantime, go out for a walk in the sun and keep washing your hands.
While we are in Level 4 Lock-down, we cannot commemorate Anzac Day in our usual fashion, and it would appear that we are unlikely to be open for meetings until we are at Level 2 or maybe Level 1.
You can place a poppy or wreath at our Devonport Cenotaph in your own time while observing social distancing.
You are encouraged to place suitable Anzac Day memorabilia in your window or porch or on your letterbox, front gate or fence. If you have a bear in your window, please make sure it is wearing a poppy.
Virtual and Digital Anzac Day Ceremonies
Various organisations are offering virtual or digital Anzac Day Ceremonies and you are encouraged to participate as best suits your daily programme and your degree of technical prowess! Following is a range of options. Please share them with others:
Stand at Dawn:
Navy Band Anzac Day Service:
North Shore Brass:
Auckland Officers’ Club Anzac Service:
Televised Anzac Day Themed Programmes
Various Anzac Day themed television programmes will be screened as follows:
Should nothing on offer appeal then, if you have any flour left, you can bake some Anzac Biscuits. See the recipe below.