The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, often referred to as the Returned Services' Association but best known simply as the RSA, is one of the largest voluntary welfare organisations in New Zealand and one of the oldest ex-service organisations in the world.
Wounded soldiers returning from the Gallipoli Campaign founded the organisation in 1916, and it received royal patronage in 1920. The RNZRSA celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2006, in recognition the New Zealand Government declared 2006 the 'Year of the Veteran'.
The RSA's commitment to veterans' welfare is embodied in Poppy Day when red poppies are exchanged for donations to hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders to raise funds for the welfare of all veterans and in remembrance of New Zealand's war dead. Poppy Day is usually observed on the Friday before ANZAC Day (25 April), New Zealand's national day of commemoration.
Remembrance plays a special part in the life of the RSA. A moment of silence is generally observed daily at RSAs in memory of comrades. On ANZAC Day and on other special anniversaries, RSAs play a significant part in wreath-laying ceremonies of remembrance.
As of 2011, 120,000 members support a network of 170 local RSAs throughout New Zealand. Specifically, a 'non-sectarian and non-party political' organisation, RSA membership is open to war veterans, ex-servicemen and women, their families and friends, serving members of the New Zealand Defence Force, sworn New Zealand Police officers, as well as men and women without military connections who share the ideals of the RSA movement. The badge is still one of the most familiar icons in New Zealand.
The 'local RSA' is a well-known meeting place or restaurant, increasingly becoming known as The Razza, in cities and towns throughout New Zealand.
Famous quotes containing the words association, royal, zealand and/or returned:
“The aim of every political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression.”
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