In 2015, local artist Tony McNeight created a giant poppy in the Auckland Domain with over 59,000 metal poppy discs. People of all ages came down and wrote heart felt messages on these poppies to collectively create the biggest poppy ever. Tony has a strong connection to the Anzac commemorations as his family members served in WW1. This project is for all that feel like they can’t or haven’t been able to truly say thank you to those who served in WW1.
Tony believes that Anzac is still very relevant today:
There’s something inside of us that wants to keep this fire burning….it’s a fire of freedom.
Especially for the younger generation who may have never met their past family members who served:
For young people it’s an opportunity for them to find out about their great grandparents and what they did and who they were. What sort of people they were, what sort of hardships they went through - terrible hardships.
During the 9 days that the poppy was being created, Frederic Leturque, mayor of Arras (a town in France) came and placed a poppy. He recently requested Tony to recreate the Giant Poppy in a town square in Arras where there is strong historical connection. During WW1, Kiwis helped the French by building a large map of underground tunnels that were used to store animals, troops and hide behind enemy lines. During this time, many gave their lives to protect our freedom and the freedom of the French people.
This kind of connection is what the French people want to remember, commemorate and give thanks to.
Tony set up a fundraiser to get his Giant Poppy over to Arras, and Crewcut was proud to support his project. If you want more information on his journey, visit his website: http://giantpoppy.co.nz