Kiwis flock to Anzac services around NZ

This morning thousands have commemorated 103 years since the landing at Gallipoli of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops at dawn services around the country.

Auckland

Thousands of people gathered at the Auckland War Memorial Museum for the Anzac Day dawn service this morning.

People of all ages are assembled around the Court of Honour at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Defence personal and War Veterans take part in Anzac Day commemorations at Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo: Getty Images
Defence personal and War Veterans take part in Anzac Day commemorations at Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo: Getty Images

Veterans at the Auckland memorial dawn service include soldiers from WWII, the Vietnam War and others including more recent conflicts in Bosnia, Solomon Islands and Iraq.

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sits with her partner Clarke Gayford, next to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

Because Ms Ardern attended Anzac commemorations in Auckland, she missed the national service in Wellington.

In Auckland, more than 80 parades and services will be held across the region, with the dawn service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum domain.

Ms Ardern says the service in Auckland is huge, in terms of participation, and she wants to make sure the government is represented at each of the largest commemorations.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laid a wreath in memory of those who have died in war at the Auckland memorial.

Wellington

A packed crowd of thousands are at Wellington’s Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, as the dawn service gets underway.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and Labour’s Grant Robertson are among the officials attending.

The chilly dawn hasn’t put off Wellingtonians from attending, with the park overflowing with people rugged up and ready to pay their respects.

Chief of the Defence Force Tim Keating said ordinary New Zealanders doing "extraordinary" things were being remembered today.

"For many New Zealand families though, Anzac will bring to the surface the pain and grief of the loved ones who are remembered.

"And that grief will especially be raw with those coping with recent bereavements from Afghanistan.

"Over more than a century New Zealanders have shown that when necessary we will put aside our peacetime lives to defend those values that our nation holds most dear.

"We do not, as New Zealanders seek to glorify war. But we can acknowledge the courage, commitment, the sacrifice of those who serve their country with honour and with pride.

"And so these morning ceremonies have become far more than just a tribute to those who fought the campaign in Gallipoli, they have become a tribute to the sacrifice made by all of those who have served New Zealand in times of war."

Lt-Gen Keating said it was also important to remember the enormity of what the Defence Force asks of its servicemen and women to serve their country.

Hamilton

Despite some early drops of rain, over a thousand people have gathered at Memorial Park in Hamilton for the Anzac Dawn service with more pouring in.

The parade including veterans marches from Knox Street down Anzac parade to Memorial Park and the Cenotaph.

Two large screens have been set up for people who can't get close.

RSA Padre Don Oliver said that those who did come home but continued suffering from the trauma of war must also be remembered.

Christchurch

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalzal has told a crowd of thousands in Cranmer Square that many people sacrificed themselves in wartime, and she is heartened to see people of all ages out this morning honouring their memory.

Christchurch's Anzac dawn service is now well under way on an uncharacteristically warm morning in the garden city.

Thousands are packing the square, with hundreds having to stand on the surrounding streets.

A parade of veterans, current soldiers, as well as local cub and scout troops finished moments ago, with participants marching from Christchurch's RSA, around Cranmer Square, and up the middle of the crowd.

 - by NZME and RNZ

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