Rere ana nga roimata o Hine
Tērā te pae o Te Riri.
Huihuia mai tātau katoa
Tēnei te pae o Maumahara.
E nga iwi, kei aku rangatira
Wahine ma, tāne mā
Tēnā tātau katoa.
I acknowledge The Hon Kris Faafoi, representing the Government
Her Exellency The Hon Patricia Forsythe, High Commissioner of Australia
His Excellency Mr Ahmet Ergin, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey
Nicola Willis MP, Representing the Opposition
His Worship Justin Lester, Mayor of Wellington
Air Marshal Kevin Short, Chief of Defence Force,
Bernadette Cavanagh, Chief Executive, Ministry for Culture and Heritage
David Ledson, Chair of the National War Memorial Advisory Council
Theo Kuper, President, Wellington Returned and Services Association
In recent weeks, following the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealanders have stood side by side, in communities across our country – and shared our grief and sorrow.
Today, on Anzac Day, we gather again to honour the sacrifices made by our service personnel – past and present – to remember the special bonds forged with our Australian allies at Gallipoli, and all who lost their lives in service of their country.
We draw strength from shared remembrance, and once again affirm our nation’s commitment to peace and freedom.
In recent years, the focus of our commemorations has been the centenary of the First World War. I have been honoured to represent New Zealand at commemorations of the battles at Messines, at Gallipoli, at Be’er Sheba and Le Quesnoy – joining fellow citizens in paying our respects.
It was profoundly moving to see the serried lines of headstones and the vast lists of names on Memorials to the Missing. Like many New Zealanders, I have found out about my own forebears who served and died on the Western Front and I was privileged to be able to visit the grave of one of them.
With the close of the First World War centenary period, it is timely to extend the focus of Anzac Day to encompass all of the conflicts in which New Zealanders have served – from the New Zealand wars of the 19th century – to our recent international peacekeeping missions.
Hinerangi, the sculpture facing the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, symbolises – through the tassels on her kakahu – the tears for all those lost in conflicts, here and around the world.
Like Hinerangi, many of us still bear the weight of this sorrow on our shoulders. The impact of war is long-reaching and travels through generations.
For some of our more recent citizens, the experience of war has been all too immediate and personal, and our hope is that Aotearoa New Zealand will continue to be the haven they have sought.
Last November, here at Pukeahu’s Armistice commemorations, we reflected on the experiences of veterans, families and communities one hundred years ago – when many thousands of New Zealanders came home and faced the challenge of reintegrating into civilian life.
It’s a challenge that is familiar to those of you who have served in subsequent conflicts, and to your families and loved ones. The emotional toll can linger long after physical scars have healed.
This morning, we pay particular tribute to our Second World War veterans, whose ranks are now depleting with every passing year, but whose memory will live on in the hearts and minds of the family and friends who knew them best.
We acknowledge the courage of every New Zealander who has served our country. We can honour their memory through our determination and commitment to stand up for what we believe in – peace, freedom and democracy – and thereby help preserve their legacy for future generations.
Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou.