Students of Waingaro School have been knitting poppies for Anzac Day.

The "knitting nannies" from Waingaro School west of Ngāruawāhia are putting their needles to work.


The group of students have joined the Ngāruawāhia Community House and Waikato District Council in a mission to make 6000 poppies to commemorate Anzac Day 2018.


But the kids aren't just knitting regular poppies – they're knitting giant ones, too.


Venessa Rice, left, and Anne Ramsay, centre, from the Ngāruawāhia Community House and Lianne van den Bemd from Waikato ...
KELLY HODEL / STUFF

Venessa Rice, left, and Anne Ramsay, centre, from the Ngāruawāhia Community House and Lianne van den Bemd from Waikato District Council are the ladies behind the district's poppy initiative.


Naturally, the giants require giant-sized needles, which have been made from cricket wickets and snooker balls.


Micah Pyle, 12, and her fellow knitting nannies have been working ferociously for two weeks to make enough poppies to go on the school remembrance tree.


Knitting Nannies, from left, Nina Thomson (10), Sonny Thompson (12), Micah Pyle (12) and Ahreen De Vries (9) of Waingaro ...
KELLY HODEL/STUFF

Knitting Nannies, from left, Nina Thomson (10), Sonny Thompson (12), Micah Pyle (12) and Ahreen De Vries (9) of Waingaro School have been knitting poppies for Anzac Day.


"Poppies represent the blood that was spilled across the battle field," Micah said.


"Anzac is important because it helps us remember all the men that fought for our lives and that saved the day."


The senior pupils are knitting and the juniors are using other crafts to create the poppies, Principal Allison Graves said.


Knitted and crocheted poppies will decorate the Te Awa Cycleway and tree trunks around the Waikato district this Anzac Day.
KELLY HODEL/STUFF

Knitted and crocheted poppies will decorate the Te Awa Cycleway and tree trunks around the Waikato district this Anzac Day.


"A pupil's great nana has come out to teach the kids how to knit and a few of the teachers have got involved," Graves said.


"I feel it's important for the kids to know about Anzac and the sacrifice that was made."


The pupils have really taken to knitting, Graves said.


"I thought it had been lost in the generations, but I've been pleasantly surprised with the kids' reactions."


Over 6000 handcrafted poppies will paint the Waikato District red on Anzac Day.


The knitted and crocheted poppies will line the Te Awa River Ride and Perry Bridge in Ngāruawāhia, as well as tree trunks around the district as part of two projects.


Anne Ramsay and Venessa Rice from the Ngāruawāhia Community House and Lianne van den Bemd and Betty Connolly from Waikato District Council are the ladies behind the initiative.


Last year, 21 trees were decorated across the district.


"We're hoping to triple that this year," van den Bemd said.


Schools, elderly, knitting groups, youth – everybody has got involved, she said.


"You don't have to ask anyone twice.


"Everyone wants to remember and everyone has someone who went to war."


The ladies have a deadline of Monday, April 9, to amass their poppies.


Currently, they have about 1000 but they're confident they won't have any trouble reaching their quota.


"We'll make them out of felt and be up all night the night before if we have too."


The poppies take about an hour to knit, van den Bemd said.


Some say crochet is faster, but it depends what you're good at, she said.


"It takes me the whole evening."


But, anyone can do it, Ramsay said.


It's a great way to get involved and contribute to Anzac commemorations, without having to attend a service, she said.


"Services aren't everyone's cup of tea and that's okay."


The display will be ready for viewing on Sunday, April 15, and will be up for about a month.

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