New Zealand Sunset Ceremony, 7 June, 7:30pm
As you know, on Wednesday 7 June 2017 New Zealand will be commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Messines. Messines cost the lives of some 700 New Zealand soldiers and 3000 wounded and, as such, it is appropriate that we mark this day with a formal act of remembrance.
In addition to the formal commemoration (07/06 at 8 am) however, New Zealand will also host a special ‘Sunset Ceremony’ to close out the day. This will be a uniquely Kiwi farewell to the men who lost their lives in the service of New Zealand at the Battle of Messines in the First World War.
The Programme, called “The Ridge”, tells the story of the Battle of Messines through music and ceremony, featuring the New Zealand Defence Force’s musicians, Māori Cultural Group and military ceremonial personnel. Featuring elements of Beating Retreat, the Last Post, and Māori waiata and karakia (songs and prayers), New Zealand’s Sunset Ceremony will be an emotional and unforgettable service to honour all those affected by the Battle of Messines.
Gregory Andrews, New Zealand Ambassador to Belgium: "In keeping with the less formal approach we are taking to the Sunset Ceremony, we are not sending formal invitations. I would, however, like to encourage you to attend this event. I would welcome the opportunity to have you experience what promises to be a special evening remembering New Zealand at Messines and marking the special relationship we enjoy with our friends here in Belgium."
The Sunset Ceremony will be held at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial, Nieuw-Zealanderstraat, Messines, at 7.30pm.