Kia ora, nga mihi o te ata ki a koutou.
I specifically acknowledge: Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Hon Craig Foss, Minister of Veterans Affairs; Lt Gen Tim Keating, Chief of Defence Force; Graeme Wheeler, Governor of the Reserve Bank; and Brian Roche, Chief Executive of New Zealand Post and Chair of the WW100 Advisory Panel - tēnā koutou.
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Government House today. I want to give a special welcome to the young people who have joined us for this unique occasion.
This year we are commemorating some very important milestones in our nation’s history.
One of the most significant will be on the 25th of April – when we will commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings. The day marked the beginning of a bloody campaign which was to change the face of this country forever.
On that day, we will remember how a trans-Tasman band of brothers fought side by side on those terrible rocky slopes. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the ANZACs, were to make a name and forge bonds that have kept us close to this day.
By the 25th of April, we will have a new war memorial park, Pukeahu, here in Wellington. A standout feature will be a new memorial to our Australian brothers in arms. This will complement the New Zealand Memorial which has been in place in Canberra for some years and is a reminder of our mutual respect.
In this centenary year since Gallipoli, I am delighted the Reserve Bank making a contribution to the commemorations with the issue of these fine-looking ANZAC coins.
It is a tangible way to pay tribute to the comradeship, steadfastness and promise which exists to this day between our two nations. I would like to acknowledge the designer of the coin, David Burke.
I anticipate there will be keen interest in the coins. There will be many people lining up to get them – and many of the coins will be squirreled away as family tāonga.
For those coins that do make it into circulation, and are passed from hand to hand, I can imagine the conversations people will be having about the symbols on them and what they mean. The coins represent a golden opportunity for our children to learn about the ANZAC story, our part in the First World War, and the impact it had on our nation.
Through my role as patron of the Centenary Panel advising the WW100 campaign, I have been privileged to learn about some of the plans for the commemorations. And so it is a particular pleasure for me to play my part today by formally launching the Anzac Commemorative Coin.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa