The Arc de Triomphe, starting point for the Bastille Day military parade

Young New Zealanders chosen for Paris First World War Centenary parade

Posted on on 05 June 2014
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Four young New Zealanders have been chosen to represent their country at the Bastille Day Parade in Paris which will launch France's commemorations for the Centenary of the First World War in 2014.

The group, all French speakers, will join young people from 70 countries who've been invited by President François Hollande to take part in the annual military parade on 14th July.

They are Aria Newfield and Milan Djurich, both from Auckland; Isabel Kerr, who comes from Wellington; and Alexander Summerlee, of Christchurch.

Isabel Kerr will wear a medal awarded to her great-grandfather for his service in the First World War.

France is using the 2014 National Day event on the Champs Elysées to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in August 1914.

President Hollande asked New Zealand to send two women and two men aged between 18 and 24.

Unique opportunity

Christopher Finlayson, New Zealand's Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, said he was delighted with the response: "There were over 200 applications for this unique opportunity. I met with the eight shortlisted candidates prior to their interviews with our judging panel last week. 

"Their passion and interest in New Zealand’s history, heritage and future was very evident and to make it to the shortlist alone was an accolade in itself."

President Hollande has declared that the Centenary should be a time for 'international brotherhood.' All of the countries involved in the First World War have been invited to the 2014 Bastille Day Parade.

Young people will march at the end of the event, in a mass demonstration for peace.

Source: New Zealand Government; Elysée Palace

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff