By: Anneke Smith
Today marks the 90th anniversary of the opening of Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, the country’s sole soldiers’ memorial hospital.
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board chief executive Kevin Snee said although the DHB held an Anzac Day service outside the hospital’s Memorial Chapel every year, this week’s commemorative service would be particularly special.
“Our Anzac Day services are always well attended by staff, locals, families and patients, who are able, who come to pay their respects,” he said.
“This year’s service has an extra special meaning, given it will be the 90th anniversary of the hospital’s official opening on Anzac Day 1928.
“The order of service will reflect on this, especially as after the Great War of 1914-1918 the people of Hastings chose to name their new hospital after soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”
According to Te Ara, New Zealand’s online encyclopedia, the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldier’s Memorial Hospital was a “notable exception” to what were very few utilitarian World War I memorials at the time.
The encyclopedia notes such memorials were seen as an affront to the spiritual idealism of the soldiers who had died.
In 2015 the DHB commissioned a new entrance sign at the hospital using recycled, reclaimed wood from the former Napier Hospital site.
Stainless steel elements were also used to depict poppy patterns and further enhance the Anzac significance in the hospital’s official name.
Anyone wishing to attend tomorrow’s service, which begins at 10am, is warmly invited to do so.
People will be invited to light a remembrance candle in the chapel or place a poppy on the altar after the service, which will be followed by a morning tea served in the hospital’s cafe, Zac’s.