Anzac Day Dawn Service 2023
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 wish to specifically acknowledge: Taranaki Whānui; The Honourable Peeni Henare, Acting Minister of Defence; Her Excellency Omur Unsay, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye; Her Excellency Harinder Sidhu, High Commissioner of Australia; Nicola Willis, Deputy Leader of the Opposition; Her Worship Tory Whanau, Mayor of Wellington; Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies, Vice Chief of Defence Force; Sir Wayne Shelford, President, Royal New Zealand Returned Services and Association; Colonel Theo Kuper, President, Wellington Returned Services and Association; Major Fiona Cassidy, Chair, National War Memorial Advisory Council; and Willie Apiata VC.
We’re also honoured to be joined by our veterans and your families here this morning.
As dawn breaks this Anzac Day, communities around New Zealand gather together at cenotaphs and memorials halls in remembrance and reflection.
Our National War Memorial here in Wellington was built at a time when the country was coming to terms with the profound impacts of the First World War. Today, these grounds provide a space to honour all who have served our nation, and to contemplate how conflict has played a role in shaping modern New Zealand.
Over time, Pukeahu has come to include memorials to some of those countries who have shared in our military history. From the Turkish Memorial with its stones from the beaches of Gallipoli – to the Pacific Islands Memorial evoking the conch shell left in the Arras Tunnels by Cook Island soldiers of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company – we are reminded of the enduring bonds forged during times of hardship and loss.
Anzac Day provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge those bonds, and to pay our respects to all who have served our country in conflicts around the world: from the South African War, to Korea, Malaya, Vietnam – and, more recently, in places such as Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands, and Afghanistan – our service personnel have followed in the footsteps of their forebears with pride.
This morning, we pay tribute to all our veterans – here and around New Zealand. We acknowledge the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives during wartime, and we join in veterans’ remembrance of their comrades who are no longer with us. We are reminded too of the lasting impact that conflict has had on our veterans and their whānau through generations.
Facing the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, the cloaked figure of Hinerangi stands weeping – not only for those we have lost, but also for all those around the world who have been displaced by war, or are forced to live their lives in its shadow.
Today, our thoughts are with members of the New Zealand Defence Force serving overseas, including those deployed to Europe to train Ukrainian soldiers.
We also extend our sincerest gratitude to our Defence Force and emergency response personnel who have supported communities to recover from the devastating effects of Cyclone Gabrielle.
Every Anzac Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary courage and selflessness shown by all those who have served their fellow New Zealanders – both at home and abroad.
And as we pay our respects this morning, let us also reaffirm our commitment to a future where we may all live freely, in dignity and peace.
Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou.