Atawhai's Clancy Hunt polishing her father's world war two medals ahead of Anzac Day this Thursday. Photo: Andrew Board.

Remembering our Anzacs

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When Atawhai’s Clancy Hunt prepares to attend Anzac Day services it’s not just her father’s medals she needs to polish, her mum’s need a bit of attention too.
Clancy’s mother and father both served New Zealand in World War 2 and she says the day makes her especially proud of what they sacrificed.
“It’s the only time I cry regularly, hearing the last post on Anzac Day.”
Arthur Hunt was only 14 when he signed up for the Navy, before the outbreak of war in 1939. He was on the Achilles during the battle of River Plate, the first sea battle of WW2 which happened off the Argentine coast. Clancy says he continued in the Navy until the end of the war and was involved in a flotilla off Japan where American battle ships bombarded its coast and the planes carrying atomic bombs were sent in.
Clancy’s mother Frances was part of a group of women that was one of the first to be sent overseas during the second war world. They went to New Caledonia, where she was a general hand for the nurses. She was also young when she went to serve, two years under the legal limit but she was able to serve because “she fudged about her age”, says Clancy.
Clancy served two years in the Navy herself as a nurse but not during war time and says the bravery and determination of the men and women who fought for their country is something that should be honoured. “The day is really important to me, someone has to remember these men, someone has to remember what they did and I’m so delighted to see the young folk, they are getting in there and they are bringing it more alive than my generation quite frankly.”
She says her motives for enlisting were because of her family history with the Navy but also because, ironically, she is anti-war.
“I think those people who fought went in there for really genuine reasons and that’s what I respect. Their bravery and their determination to do their bit and they got so traumatised and there was no help after the wars. These men had to come back and put their lives together again. I was there a long time after that but I just wanted to see if I could help at all.”
She says the day meant a lot to her late father and he opened up about his time in the Navy as he got older. “He started telling me stories, hilarious stories and sad stories. But he never complained about it or said he was frightened or upset about it. He just said that you just had to get on with it.”
Anzac Day is this Thursday, April 25, and Clancy says she will polish up her parents’ medals and wear them proudly at one of the services on the day.