A fantastic opportunity was presented for the Fallen Heroes Trust to bring some of the Fallen Heroes families together to be recognised in a special way on ANZAC Day. The St Kilda Football Club had their annual Wellington AFL game on ANZAC Day against the Brisbane Lions, and invited the Fallen Heroes to have representatives attend as VIPs. This was an opportunity for Johnny Duncan, Bill Blakie, Dion Taka and Sita Tuinamala (Kirifi Mila’s mother) and their families to watch the game, and to meet each other and the Australian wounded who had also come over for the game. The group were privileged with being on the field boundary line for the opening ceremony, and Tamati and Hamuera Taka got to escort the match ball onto the field and conduct the coin toss.
Viliane Ta’ala (Kirifi Mila’s brother-in-law) said, “It was a great game and experience to be part of. It was really awesome to have service people and their families from the two countries with the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge their families’ service together in public. To be part of that when you have the reasons we have, gave the day even greater meaning.” Bill Blakie said, “it was great to be recognised as a wounded veteran in a public forum. I had the opportunity to meet with other wounded veterans and discuss issues particular to ourselves. It also gave me the opportunity to meet with Dion Taka and we instantly formed a bond and now keep in regular contact. For my wife Nancy it was great, as she meet Dion’s wife and they talked all night and discussed issues on how they have supported us through our recovery and swapped ideas – just a great chance for her to meet someone who has gone through a similar situation. Thanks to the Fallen Heroes Trust and the St Kida Football Club for a memorable evening.”