ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day in New Zealand is a public holiday held on 25 April each year to commemorate New Zealanders killed in war and to honour returned servicemen and women. The date marks the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in Turkey of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in 1915. The ceremony has evolved since that time and has acquired extra layers of symbolism and meaning. 

From 2014 to 2018, New Zealanders will mark a number of centenaries related to World War I, including 100 years since the Gallipoli landings in 2015.  A special website has been established and it can be viewed here: http://ww100.govt.nz/

The Dawn Service

The Dawn Service is timed to coincide with the initial landings at Gallipoli in 1915. A typical commemoration begins with a short parade by returned servicemen and women to the local war memorial, where uniformed service personnel provide a guard of honour around the memorial. Returned service personnel are given pride of place while families and other members of the community gather informally around the memorial.

A short service follows with a prayer, hymns and a dedication. The Last Post is then played, followed by a minute's silence and Reveille. A brief address follows and the service concludes with a closing prayer and the singing of the National Anthem.

The Anzac Parade

Another ceremony takes place later that morning, with returned service personnel wearing their medals, marching behind banners and standards. The veterans are joined by other community groups, including members of the New Zealand Defence Force, cadets and youth organisations, and veterans from other countries, together with massed bands. The march proceeds to the local war memorial, where another service, that includes many elements of the Dawn Service, occurs.

The service is an opportunity for representatives of veterans' organisations, nations, civic authorities, and youth organisations to lay wreaths in memory of all New Zealanders who have served and died in past wars and conflicts. After these services, many of the veterans retire to the local club of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association.

While the formal events conclude at 1pm , there are often other public events, including exhibitions, military displays and recitals in the afternoon. In many centres, the centuries-old military ceremony of lowering the flag at the end of day (Beating the Retreat) is performed at dusk.

Tours of Government House Wellington for the public, schools and community groups are being offered, starting in the New Visitor Centre.

Find out more.

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