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The 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings have been marked by unprecedented crowds across Otago today.
It is estimated 18,000 to 20,000 people attended the Dawn Service at Queens Garden in Dunedin. The area surrounding the garden and cenotaph was full to capacity as were nearby streets, as much larger than usual crowd gathered to mark the centenary.
"While you wait think of those waiting on ships about to go ashore at Gallipoli 100 years ago," the crowd was told as it waited for the service to begin.
In Queenstown tup to 3000 people gathered before 6.45am for the resort's dawn service.
Barely a breath of wind blew off Lake Wakatipu during the short service at the Memorial Gates on Marine Parade, finishing as the sun rose over the Remarkables mountain range.
The Queenstown civil service will begin at 10am with a parade from the Memorial Gates to the Queenstown Memorial Centre, while the Arrowtown civil service will begin at 10.30am at the Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall before a parade to the war memorial for the laying of the wreaths.
About 3000 also turned out for the dawn service at the World War 1 monument in Thames St, Oamaru.
It was the biggest turnout for decades, reflecting the interest in the centenary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli and World War 1.
Parking around central Oamaru was at a premium from as early as 6am, with then service starting at 6.30am.
Other services were being held at monuments throughout the district, including the main parade and service at 10.30am.
The Balclutha Pipe Band lead a parade of about 500 down Renfrew St in Balclutha at 7.15am this morning.
The crowd at the service at the cenotaph were asked to think of the town 100 years ago when many young men left from what was a town of 1100 to serve New Zealand in World War 1.
More than 600 people turned out for the traditional 7am dawn service at Lake Hawea, while several thousand others gathered on the lakefront in Wanaka for the town's inaugural dawn service, held at the same time.
A civic service took place in a packed Lake Wanaka Centre at 9.30am before a parade through town to the cenotaph on Chalmers St, for the laying of wreaths and poppies.
A stream of light lit the winding path leading up to Clyde Lookout early this morning.
Hundreds of adults and children climbed the hill with their dogs and torches to join the special dawn service, getting a small taste of what soldiers had to endure at Anzac Cove.
Soldiers recollections played out on speakers as the crowd moved slowly to reach the top, where they were greeted by a lone piper.
Alexandra-Clyde RSA president Kevin Harding led the service, and said numbers could have been near the 1000 mark.
After the service, crowds descended to Clyde School where a parade formed and led by the Alexandra pipe band to the Cenotaph for the wreath laying ceremony.
Lesley Taylor read a passage from her grandfather's diary and said it was an honour and privilege to do so.
Guest speaker Navy Captain Jim Gilmore said New Zelaand and Australian soldiers went into the same campaign together and the sacrifice of those
who fought and died will always be remembered.
Speeches on behalf of Governor General Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister John Key were read out, and wreaths were laid before the parade