The RSA today announced that over $1.7 million was donated to the 2014 Poppy Appeal for the support of veterans, ex-service men and women and their families in need.
RSA Chief Executive, David Moger, says that while stormy conditions across the country during the Poppy Day street collection on 17 April may have dampened donations, the warm spirit of donors and collectors shows that the men and women who served New Zealand have not been forgotten.
“We’re deeply grateful for the generous support of poppy collectors, donors, the New Zealand Defence Force and our national partners, including Z Energy and ANZ. Because of their help, we’re able to assist veterans in need with funds for healthcare, a hand around the home, transport to the doctors, practical care, and so much more,” says Moger.
Poppy Day is one of New Zealand’s oldest street appeals but Moger says that’s not stopping the RSA from taking advantage of new approaches and technologies to grow donations for the RSA’s support services.
“The way Kiwis engage with and champion the causes they support has changed since the first Poppy Day was held in 1922,” Moger says.
“This year we started exploring mobile and online giving to provide easy ways to support our veterans now and in the future. We also launched an RSA National Facebook page - an exciting development for an organisation formed in the age of the telegram.”
On Anzac Day next year, New Zealand will commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings, and in 2016 the RSA will celebrate its own centenary. RSA National President, Don McIver, says that today the RSA’s role is as important as ever.
“The RSA supports New Zealand’s service men and women across the generations. From the soldier who served in WWII, to Defence Force personnel spending their first Christmas away from home while deployed overseas, we stand behind them all,” explains McIver.
All poppies distributed through the 2015 Poppy Appeal will be New Zealand made, after Christchurch RSA was announced as the RSA’s official poppy supplier in June this year. McIver says that the public reaction to the announcement has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Christchurch RSA put in a strong tender which allows more of the funds donated for each poppy to reach the veterans who need it most,” says McIver.
Speaking from Christchurch, RSA National Vice President, Barry Clark, says “As a Kiwi, a Cantabrian and a veteran, it’ll be a proud moment when I march alongside my comrades on the centenary of Gallipoli, wearing a poppy made in Christchurch.”