August 18th 2021.
I would first like to acknowledge today is Vietnam Veterans Day and we honour all those who served and thank you for your service.
As we get through day one of our level four lockdown I’d like to address what may be some mixed messaging that seems to be coming from National RSA. They have been advising that you should contact the District Support Manager (DSM). This is not correct and in the first instance you should contact our Local Support Adviser - Gail Kennett 021446011.
If you find yourself, or a veteran you know in need of assistance with shopping, medication pick-ups or deliveries or anything else, please contact Gail to arrange the help required. But it’s not just getting medication or groceries that we will help with, if you need ANY assistance at all, during or after the lockdown, do not hesitate to call either Gail or myself.
On a brighter note, we are received really good feedback on the Mid-Winter Christmas dinner, thanks to all those that made this happen and we look forward to the next one. Club nights are proving popular and are hoping that we can go ahead with the next one planned for the 2nd September. We are very fortunate to be able to get Bob Campbell to come along and host a wine tasting session. I did offer him some of my Guava and Rhubarb wines to add to the tasting list, he replied “Thanks for the offer but that may be all to mysterious”. I must confess they are an acquired taste.
Cyril Hicks turns 100 on the 23rd of August “Happy Birthday Cyril”. We intend hosting a party for him on the 6th of September, with a full lunch and cake provided. This is of course COVID dependant, we will keep you updated if we need to postpone.
I’ll sign off this newsletter with a quote form our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
“We're in this together and must unite against COVID-19”.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
email@example.com 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.
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.
We hope you are all coping well with the current situation with everybody in lockdown.
We have set up a telephone tree to contact members to check on your welfare and offer support if needed. You would have heard from them by now. Unfortunately, many of the telephone numbers on our membership list were out of date.
If you have recently changed your details (address, email and/or phone number) We would appreciate it if you could email firstname.lastname@example.org to update our information.
As you will be aware our Anzac Day service has been disrupted for the second time in two years. Chris Mullane and others are working on a virtual service for members and the community. We will not be laying out the Field of Remembrance for Anzac Day. However, we hope to make Remembrance Day on Wednesday 11 November 2020 a much more fitting commemoration this year so that members and the community can participate in a meaningful way.
RSA National has set up a volunteer delivery service, they can pick up groceries and pharmaceutical products for you. There are protocols in place to keep the volunteers and you safe, and they will be considered essential services. Please do get in touch if you would like any help.
Stay home, stay well and wash your hands.
In these uncertain times we need to take stock of what we are doing in the light of the current COVID-19 virus pandemic.
It is clear that older members are at greater risk if they develop the infection. Currently, we do not appear to have community spread of the infection. However, we do not want to run the risk of transmitting the virus should it become a community spread disease.
We have received direction from RNZRSA National Office to the effect that Anzac Day services will not be held and that Poppy Day has been postponed. However, we are in the process of developing a virtual program which people can log into and participate in. This will be made available to members and also to the Devonport community.
Also, we have considered the risks we run in having our usual fortnightly Monday member meetings. With fewer people attending it may mean that it is not worthwhile running them. The Executive Committee have decided that we should not continue with the meetings. Until further notice the Monday meetings will not be held. They will recommence when appropriate and we will advise you when this is to happen. However, we will try to keep people informed by electronic means and by letter. If people know of someone in difficulty, please let us know so that we can do the best we can to help. A regular phone call to five other members is a reasonable thing to do.
For all of us, please keep in touch by phone or email so that social activity continues although in a different form. Visits to older people are being discouraged and we are following the advice in the New Zealand Herald today. Wash and dry your hands and stay healthy.