The ANZAC spirit is alive and well – after 1pm


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I like to write this column ahead of time, but rarely do.

Today, however, it’s ANZAC Day as I write so I’m ahead of schedule. Two questions are on my mind, both as a result of today being ANZAC Day.

The first question is a broadly sociological one: why has there been a resurgence of patriotic fervour around the celebration of ANZAC Day in the last few years?

The second question is a far more mundane one: what’s open today (and when)?

The answer to one of these questions fills me with hope.

The answer to the other simply makes my head hurt.

Let’s start with the philosophical one.

The world we live in today seems to be fraught with tribalism – a, ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us; if your ideas differ from our ideas, you’re cancelled (and BTW we’re storming parliament)’, kind of world.

So how is it that in this time of anti-liberal, anti-fascist, anti-trans, anti-cis, anti-mining, anti-nuclear, anti-everything sentiment, virtually everyone in this country has got behind the celebration of our forebears the ANZACs.

Despite our 21st century lens identifying and acknowledging that the ANZAC effort so often discriminated against women, pilloried pacifists and conscientious objectors, treated heroic Māori and Pasifika soldiers miserably, and was in many instances an abject lesson in poor planning and arrogant colonial butchery, we have all conspired to treat the ANZAC celebration with upmost reverence and its protagonists with increasing adulation.

I am pleased we have a common cause that unites all of us, be we male or female, young or old, Māori or Pakeha: a respect for the sacrifice of others.

But why has the annual Kiwi pilgrimage to Gallipoli, or attendance at the nation’s ANZAC dawn parades recently become so important to our people?

I think it may be our human response to the fractured social structure we navigate daily. Our peer groups, our ethnicities, our genders and our social-media groups constantly drive wedges between ‘us’ and others who are ‘not us’; but deep down maybe we all want the chance to identify as a collective ‘us’.

Perhaps as we become more disparate, our desire for unity actually becomes stronger. Maybe that is why we are seeing the celebration of ANZAC Day become more pervasive every year – maybe its because we need it more.

Believe it or not, that was the easier of the two questions to answer.

The second question: “What’s open and when?” … now that’s a real tester!

Let me see if I can clarify it for you.

ANZAC Day is a public holiday, and as such you will almost certainly be required to pay a 15% surcharge at any hospitality venue. But they won’t necessarily be open because most aren’t sure if they’re allowed to open, or some may simply choose not to open.

There’s no surcharge at the shops, even though they’ve also got to pay staff extra for working on a holiday. Unless they don’t. And they might not be open. Or they might. Depending on whether they’re in a tourist area.

It’s okay, you don’t have to buy a meal if you’re having a drink like you do at Easter … well not all Easter … just Easter Sunday, or Good Friday, … actually, no, just Easter Sunday I think.

There are of course different rules in different locations, but you won’t really know which ones are which because those rules change often. Some councils give dispensation in some areas for some holiday trading.

Now just remember that the opening rules only apply up to 1pm on ANZAC Day, but you’ve gotta pay the surcharge even after 1pm.

Garden centres are different (depending on where they are I think), and pharmacies are not restricted.

Some garden centres will of course choose to open even when they are technically not allowed to by law.

I’m not sure if the cafés in those garden centres that do open illegally on public holidays are allowed to add the surcharge – I guess that’s at their discretion?

Unfortunately, one additional complication is making the holiday trading landscape a little opaque at present – many hospitality venues are having trouble finding staff, so some of them are choosing not to open after 1pm due to the staffing problems: the upside – they won’t be adding the 15% surcharge ‘cos they’re not open.

I hope that helps clarify the holiday trading situation. I was told it’s really quite difficult for overseas visitors to understand – thank God we’re locals aye?

Related: 2023: When will it be over please?

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Alan Neben
Alan Neben
Alan Neben is a Mount Maunganui local and experienced New Zealand publisher. His columns provide a light-hearted perspective on social changes effecting New Zealanders

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