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Thousands gathered for Anzac Day services across Otago.
Australian High Commisison representative Erika Biddle said Anzac Day commemorated one of the most significant moments in Australia and New Zealand's shared history.
"This day marks the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. A day when the Anzac legend became an important part of the identity of both our countries.''
Ms Biddle said the importance of Anzac Day had not been diluted over time.
"It is a long-standing tradition that on Anzac Day we all pause to remember those who offered their lives in defence of their nation and community.
"We only have to recall those that have died or been injured in recent years on operation defence of our national interests to recognise that this tradition of silent reverence is as relevant today as it was at the first Anzac Day ceremony.''
She said it was important to remember those whose service had ended in sacrifice to enable others to live in peace; those who continued to bear the burden of their service through physical and mental scars; and those who had been left behind ''whose grief and sense of loss will never be eased''.
"Lest we forget.''
OAMARUIn Oamaru, about 1000 people gathered at the World War One memorial in lower Thames St for the town's dawn service amid tight security.
Several armed police guarded the area and heavy trucks blocked access to the street at the Itchen St and Steward St intersections.
Addressing those gathered, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and former Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopter pilot Kelli Milmine both spoke of the importance of Anzac Day and its legacy.
They said freedom was once again being threatened as a result of the mosque terror attacks in Christchurch and more recently, the bombings in Sri Lanka.
A mild morning on the lakefront at Wanaka saw between 600 and 700 attending the Anzac dawn service.
The music was provided by members of the New Zealand Veterans Brass Band made up of retired regular and territorial New Zealand Defence Force musicians from throughout New Zealand and Australia.
Both the New Zealand and Australian national anthems were played.
BALCLUTHACrisp, autumnal conditions greeted those attending the Balclutha Anzac Parade at dawn today.
The temperature did not deter the crowds, however, as several hundred of all ages gathered to march from the Balclutha War Memorial Hall to the town's cenotaph, led by a Balclutha Pipe Band wreathed in clouds of breath and silhouetted by a golden sunrise.
The Reverend Alex McLaughlin led a traditional 45-minute service, in which he talked of the effects of war on servicemen and women, and the "great benefits" owed them by today's New Zealanders.
"They left as boys on adventure, and returned as shell-shocked and scarred men. Were it not for their sacrifices, we would probably live today in a world ruled by fear," he said.
South Otago High School deputy head girl Amy Selwood (16) said she could not imagine what it would be like if she were forced to go to war at her present age, like so many in past conflicts.
"War is a disease that plagues our world, from the conflicts of the past to the war against terror today. This year more than ever, we must band together, and fight as one for peace in New Zealand."
As dawn finally pierced the night, Balclutha Brass Band bugler Warrick Thompson played a poignant Last Post and Reveille, before poppies were laid by the crowd at the foot of the cenotaph.
In Invercargill more than 1000 people turned up for the Anzac Dawn Parade at the Cenotaph.
At roads leading the Cenotaph there were at least two armed police officers, some with semiautomatic rifles, others with handguns.
Among those in attendance apart from the veterans were Invercargill’s mayor, Sir Tim Shadbolt, as well as Kabour Party MP Dr Liz Craig and National Party MP Sarah Dowie.
As the parade progressed the clouds slowly started clearing. A fly past by a New Zealand airforce plane had onlookers craning their necks skywards.
Corporal Kris Maclellan, who served in East Timor in 2001 with the New Zealand Army Physical Training Corps said he was "blown away " by the number of young people in attendance.
"We seem to be passing it down through the generations."
Local Invercargill resident Bruce McNaughton said he had attended because he had one uncle who had served during WWI and another who served during WWII.
"It’s a good service. Very well organised."
The services was led by Roxburgh-Millers Flat RSA president Bob Murphy.
Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan was the guest speaker and he talked about the lessons history teaches and the battle of ideology.
Another service was held at Millers Flat at the war memorial at 9.00am.
At least 300 people attended Cromwell's 10am service at the town's memorial hall.
Among those in attendance was Cromwell RSA president Denis Ryan who said there was a good turnout all all other services in the area, which were held earlier in the day, including one at the Cromwell Cemetery, Bannockburn Cenotaph and Lowburn.