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Thirteen World War II veterans who live, or have lived at Levin Home for War Veterans and Reevedon Home in Levin, have recently had their portraits taken by a professional photographer as part of a national project.
The New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) and the RSA started the World War Two Veterans Portrait Project before Anzac Day last year, with photographers from the NZIPP photographing thousands of veterans around New Zealand.
The portraits taken of all remaining World War Two veterans in New Zealand, are to be given to the National Office of the RSA.
The portraits of the 13 World War Two veterans of Enliven’s Levin Home and Reevedon Home were displayed last Friday at Levin Home’s Veteran’s Arms afternoon, an RSA style club set up by the home’s residents and staff.
Levin Home resident Richard Hooper, who was a corporal in the Royal New Zealand Air Force based in the Pacific, says he is happy to be part of the project.
“I think my portrait is very good,” says Richard. “It was a new experience getting my picture taken.”
One of the photographers, Annette Scullion, says it was a privilege to take the veterans’ photographs.
“I feel it’s about respecting those who served in the war. The project is about giving back and preserving history.”
Annette has taken photos of 51 veterans, from Waikanae, Otaki and Levin.
“It was a real joy because I got to engage with each person,” Annette explains.
“Some of their stories were incredible – I was told stories of survival and the reality of the day to day living and meaning of what happened.”
The framed portraits will be displayed permanently at Levin Home for War Veterans, and the veterans received their own personal copies to cherish.
Levin Home, run by Presbyterian Support Central’s Enliven division, was opened in 1959 specifically to support veterans of war. Since it opened it has supported well over 1000 returned servicemen and women and it continues to support veterans today, as well as people from all walks of life.