Cook Islands Returned Services Association president Henry Wichman says it’s a chance to join a group of people who each year gather to remember those who fought for their country, and pay their respects.
The service will start at 6am and members of the public who wish to be part of the morning service should gather on the eastern side of the Ministry of Justice building half an hour earlier than that, says Wichman.
“This year’s speaker at the dawn service will be Monty Soutar. We chose him as our speaker because of his historian background.
“He has done a lot of research into World War Two and has written multiple books on the subject and we are pleased to have him at this year’s parade because he is also an ex-serviceman.
Wichman said although the dawn service programme is scheduled to take about 40 minutes, this could change depending on the number of wreaths that will be laid.
“The dawn service will be attended by about 25 people from the Whakatane RSA in New Zealand and we’ve also got a number of people who were part of the 1966 intake into the New Zealand Army. It was just the second time Cook Islanders were ever recruited in the New Zealand army. There will also be representatives of the police association and few other serving soldiers that have chosen to return to the Cook Islands for our service.
“At the end of the parade, it is customary that we march past the cenotaph and once the parade is completed, we will then form up, march out. Then return.”
After the dawn service, parade participants will take a break and by 8:30am, the Civil Service programme will begin at the Cenotaph.
“The Civil Service programme consists mainly of the presentation of wreaths from the Prime Minister, the Queen’s Representative, a member of the parliamentary opposition, and representatives of the the Kaumaiti Nui, the Koutu Nui and a few others.
The service is non-denominational service and the general public and visitors are welcome to attend.
Wichman says all uniformed organisations should assemble in the parking area opposite Raro Records at 7.30am, where ex-servicemen and women will also join the parade.
The winner of the World War One speech competition organised by the New Zealand High Commission on Thursday evening will also be announced during the parade.