Guest Blog: Help build the world's biggest poppy for ANZAC Day

Poppy-background-V3The Giant Poppy Art Project started out as a big mad wonderful idea and now it is a reality and my consuming passion. I really want New Zealanders globally to become involved by donating to the RSA for one of the 59,000 metal Poppy petals and become part of the world’s largest poppy for ANZAC Day.

The Poppy will be in the Auckland Domain. It will honour those who protected our freedom and democracy. It is a modern take on laying a wreath and everyone anywhere in the world will have the opportunity to go online and make a donation and a metal Poppy Petal will be placed for them in their name or their for their family or their great granddad.

Those who are in Auckland can come down to the Domain over nine days before ANZAC Day, donate and place one personally. It all came about because of a conversation I had just before ANZAC Day in 2015. I was talking to friends at work and said I was off to the Dawn Service.

They were new New Zealanders and had no idea what the day meant. What was even more poignant a number of them came from countries where you are neither free and there is no democracy. So while standing at the Auckland Cenotaph on ANZAC Day in 2014 with my Dad’s medals, I had an epiphany to create something everyone could be involved in.

The Giant Poppy idea was planted.

I approached New Zealand Steel to make the metal Poppy Petals and they also offered me some startup funds. Their response was so immediate and positive I was totally committed to go ahead.

At the time I was a one-man band.  As I began talking about my crazy idea others came on board with expertise, funds, ‘in kind’ support. Early on in the project I had decided I would underwrite it myself – literally put my money where my mouth is.

I have been out finding the supporters who shared my vision to raise the $180,000 in funds to pay for the build. Still working on that. I have found that support has come from the most unexpected places.

The installation at the end of last year at the Tower of London had an overwhelming international response and more than anybody ever anticipated. For New Zealanders and Australians everywhere ANZAC Day has a particular emotional significance. On ANZAC morning we will wake up to a completed Poppy – which Maori Television (the broadcaster of record for ANZAC Day) would will film and send to Gallipoli to be shown during their commemorations.

A bit of a headsup on me.  I am a commissioned artist, a graphic designer and an ordinary chap but sometimes something comes into your life that is extraordinarily compelling and must be done no matter what.

Please donate, engage, talk about us on all your social media and become part of our team and our Ambassadors.

Feel free to contact me on tony.mcneight@gmail.com.

www.giantpoppy.co.nz.