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There was a tinge of red in the sky as dawn broke in Dunedin as thousands gathered for the dawn service at the Cenotaph in Queens Gardens.
He said a theme of the earliest Anzac Day services had been of people striving to make the world a better place and to see the good in others.
"As a nation we are still grieving for those who were lost, for the suffering of families and also for the knowledge that this kind of crime could happen in our world.
"But we have also seen the resolve for a strengthened and inclusive community where such hate cannot exist.''
Dunedin RSA president Lox Kellas said the timing of Anzac Day so close to Easter meant numbers at the city's memorial service were slightly down on last year, but he was still heartened that thousands had taken time to remember those who had served.
The security presence was heavier than previous years, with police cars and armed officers blocking main roads leading to the Cenotaph.
In Mosgiel about 1500 gathered for a service held at the Cenotaph at Memorial Gardens.
About 400 people attended the Anzac Day posy laying ceremony at Andersons Bay Cemetery.
RNZMVR coxswain Pete Gee said it was a smaller turn out than previous years.
He believed it may be because the day of remembrance fell during the school holidays this year and many families had decided to remain on holiday rather than attend.
About 40 girl guides, brownies and scouts laid posies on the graves of fallen soldiers in the services section of the cemetery, as the Last Post and Revelle were played by Kaikorai Metropolitan Brass cornettist Mat Patchett.
The posies, containing a sprig of rosemary and red paper, symbolise remembrance.
The ceremony was a family affair, and unlike many other services around the city, there was no police presence.
About 70 people attended the Anzac Day Peace Ceremony at the peace pole on the Museum Reserve yesterday.
The event was organised by the Quaker community and the University of Otago's National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, to allow Dunedin residents to grieve for all who had suffered from war and conflict.
It was also to honour those who had worked for peace and social justice, resisted war and violence, and committed to building a just and peaceful world.
The informal atmosphere of the gathering was highlighted by the Otepoti Peace Choir which sang Down by the Riverside and If I had a Hammer.
The ceremony finished with the tying of white ribbons around the peace pole.
Dunedin services, parades and posy layings
Other Dunedin Anzac Day events:
Memorials to Fallen Soldiers from the South Africa War, WW1 and WW2.