Craft Project honours fallen ANZACs

From a distance it looks like a red blanket is draped at entrance gates to Whangarei Girls' High School. But as you approach, you'll see there are more than 1000 handmade poppies created by the students.

Year 12 student Dani Kirby has a special connection to Anzac Day - she had family members who went to Gallipoli and fought for Australia. She also came third in the regional final of the 2015 ANZ RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition where she wrote about her very first Anzac Day.

"I remember, I was 7-years-old and it was when the cenotaph was still by the bus bay. I was wearing a hideous beanie and I was promised hot chocolate. I remember watching the march and thinking 'wow' - I was a bit jealous because everyone was looking at them."

One of the school's teachers, Rebecca Leydon, brought the project to the school having read about the "5000 Poppies Project" - a crafting collaboration that has been active in Australia and NZ for the last couple of years.

Miss Kirby said the poppies were made in Whanau classes and said it became a bit of a competition to see who could make the most and who could make the best looking.

"I think it's good that the school did this, it's a fun way of learning about Anzac Day," she said.

Miss Kirby said she has developed a better understanding of Anzac Day since her first dawn parade - she has been to nearly every ceremony since and couldn't get away with not going. Her granddad was part of the Red Cross and was adamant they attended.

"I think it's very important to remember [the veterans] and honour them."

All of the school's 1400 students had the opportunity to create the poppies and with help from the wider school community around 4000 poppies were made.

- Northern Advocate