Collins' Comments: 24 April 2017
Attending Papakura’s Anzac Day services and parades on April 25 and then viewing the national news later in the day, it is moving to see so many New Zealanders involved in the same observance. It is a wonderful on-going tribute to the men and women who served their countries and lost their lives in World War I and World War II and subsequent conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and East Timor, Afghanistan, that so many New Zealanders turn out to the Anzac Day parades that happened up and down the country in 2017.
This year we remember that 100 years ago in 1917, the First World War had entered its fourth year and New Zealand’s third year of involvement.
This was the year, 100 years ago, that America entered the War. Germany had stepped up its use of submarines with devastating effect on the naval and merchant shipping of most other countries in Europe and also the United States.
It was also the year of three major offensives near Ypres, involving the soldiers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. The first was at Arras then very successfully at Messines. Unfortunately the major battles at Passchendaele were a disaster for all Western Allies. The end of 1917 saw our troops in despair after facing the horrors of mud, shell craters and barbed wire while under relentless machine gun fire. Our losses were the worst we endured with 5,000 dead and 13,000 casualties.
These sacrifices will never be forgotten as many organisations across the country are working on projects like the Auckland Museum’s Online Cenotaph that is a living memorial to all our service personnel.
I hope this work and many other projects across the country will remind us of the sacrifice and the horrors of war and violence and inspire us into ways of justice and peace in 2017. We must always remember that our country is a wonderful place to live in because our soldiers and support personnel gave their lives to protect our future and our freedom.
Lest we forget.
Papakura town centre – Proud Papakura Proud
It’s great to see the first activities happening as a result of the Proud Papakura Proud consultations to make the Papakura town centre safer and more welcoming. Proud Papakura Proud held a Tikanga Talk at the Papakura Marae and a Youth Employment Initiative Night was held in the Edmund Hillary Library.
The Youth Employment initiative was presented by Carol Ann Southern from Youth Connections and she advised on using the YouthFULL website and platform for advertising jobs and identifying candidates. Carol also talked about Job Fest that provides for young people about to leave school or tertiary education. Representatives from McDonalds in Papakura and Boodles restaurant spoke about employing youth in their businesses. The Gateway Co-ordinator spoke about Gateway’s work that helps year 12 and 13 students at Papakura High School and Rosehill College to identify work opportunities too.
The New Zealand job market remains strong, with job listings increasing by 15 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017. Auckland’s growth is in line with the average but the regions are showing increases in job vacancies between 22 per cent and 42 per cent according to job sites like Trade Me.
This presents our young people, and all of our communities with opportunities and a positive outlook, which is a fantastic place to be.