Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 40, September 1996


Saturday morning, 12 August 1995 saw crowds gather in Paeroa's main street to take part in the 50th anniversary VJ Day commemorations and watch the VJ Day Parade.

After a foggy start, Saturday turned out fine and sunny for the celebrations and the crowds lined both sides of Belmont and Normanby Roads for the parade as it wound from Princes to Williams Streets and then back to the town centre for the commemoration service. A riderless horse, led by Cathryn Fisher, was a poignant reminder of those New Zealanders who died serving their country.

Kerepehi Brass Band led the marching veterans of World War II which were followed by service personnel, civilian groups, pipe band, and marchers interspersed with floats and vintage cars. Following the parade a commemoration church service was held in front of the Post Office, the crowds then moving to the RSA building for the unveiling of the commemoration plaques.

The Army was well represented with members of the 6th Hauraki Regiment. The Regiment provided a guard of honour at the unveiling ceremony of two plaques in commemoration of VE and VJ Days. At the unveiling ceremony tributes were paid to those who had served and to those who had fallen during both World Wars. The flag was lowered and raised by Paeroa RSA past-president Eric Gamble, who served in the J-Force whilst the band played the Reveille and the Last Post. The plaques were unveiled by Paeroa Community Board member, Brian Dunham and ATC No. 44 Squadron Warrant Officer Alison Maber read the inscriptions.

As a final tribute, a small plane flew over and released poppies.


In Waihi Beach VJ Day celebrations were marked with a parade. Waihi College and Beach Primary School children joined residents in a march up Wilson Road to the community centre, while police, fire brigade, coastguard and vintage cars formed a motorcade. At the community centre they were greeted with a Maori welcome and blessing. The commemorative service was followed by the unveiling of a community plaque to remember those who died during the Second World War. The ceremony was followed by laying of the wreaths at Brighton Road Reserve.


In Waihi more than 540 crosses with poppies on them had been especially put out around Waihi RSA's memorial cairn. There was one for each service person buried in the RSA cemetery. The Mayor, Basil Morrison and Councillor, Joyce Fawcett laid a wreath at the memorial.