The Royal New Zealand Artillery
The RNZA Association Activity Calendar is based around four major commemorations/celebrations during the year: ANZAC Day, 25 April; Gunners Day, 26 May; Annual Reunion/AGM in early November; and St Barbara`s Day, 4 December. Other significant occasions are celebrated as appropriate.
One of the main forums for the assembling of members is unfortunately the funerals of comrades, always sad occasions, but a reminder to everyone to live their lives to the full. Whenever a member passes away, every effort is made to ensure 'the family of gunners' is represented at their funeral, wherever that may be.
ANZAC Day is of course a day of commemoration for the whole nation, but in an effort to ensure that gunners connect (or reconnect) at the local level, the RNZA Association has started a programme where it (the Association) will pay for members to lay a wreath anywhere in the country where groups of gunners are gathered. This initiative was launched in 2011 with the laying of seven wreaths around NZ. It was very generously sponsored by one of the members.
Any member may lay a wreath. They should then provide a photo of their 'Gunner Group', including at least 4 gunners, and a copy of their receipt, to receive reimbursement for the cost of the wreath. This data should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gunners Day commemorates the founding of the Royal Artillery (UK) in 1716 (see Customs and Traditions). The day is celebrated throughout the country with luncheons and dinners. In 2012 it was celebrated in Papakura, Auckland, the previous home base of 16 Field Regiment, with a semi-formal dinner for the 17th year in a row (over 100 members attend this dinner). The organiser, Jeff Waters, is determined to remain in the chair at least until the event reaches its 21st birthday. Dinners are also held regularly in Wellington and Christchurch and are organised by the District Coordinators. Go to Current Activities for details of the next dinner to be held in your region.
The AGM is held in conjunction with the Annual Reunion in the first half of November each year. It is normally held over a weekend with a social gathering on the Friday night, an activity such as a tour on the Saturday followed by a semi-formal dinner in the evening, and a church service on the Sunday morning. Time has to be found somewhere in the weekend for the Annual General Meeting.
For many years the Association settled on the Spa Hotel in Taupo as the best venue to hold the Reunion,as we have strong historic links to the Armed Constabulary in Taupo. In 2010 the AGM determined that it would be a good move for the Reunion to be held around the country, rather than just in Taupo, and at the very successful Reunion/AGM in Christchurch in 2011, an order of rotation was decided:
|2018||Dunedin||19th - 21st Oct. Kensington Army Hall and Victoria Hotel. Click here to Register online|
29 Sep - 1 Oct. Venue is the Palm Nth Cosmopolitan Club
|2016||Auckland||22-23 October 2016, Venue is the Browns Bay RSA|
13-15 November 2015, Venue is the Christchurch Memorial RSA, Christchurch,
(Hopefully the 2015 event will coincide with the opening of a new Christchurch RSA, the last one having been destroyed in the earthquakes of February 2011.)
Details of the Annual Reunion, and Registration Forms, are generally posted on Current Activities in August of each year - check there for details of the next Reunion.
St Barbara is the Patron Saint of the Gunners and this occasion is used in various locations as an excuse for informal gatherings by members.
The Association will make every effort to ensure that a representative attends the funeral of one of its members; ie, any past gunner. However, this can only occur if the Association is aware of a member`s passing. Notification of a member`s funeral details is the responsibility of all members, and the best method is via the blogspot MuzzleFlashes, (email email@example.com).
Where members attend the funeral of a passed member they are asked to wear their military medals, providing this is consistent with the wishes of the passed member`s family. This is done as a mark of respect for the service which the passed member has given to his or her country.
Regulations and protocols relating to the eligibility and conduct of military funerals are available on-line at http://veteransaffairs.mil.nz/memorials/eligibility.html