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ANZAC Day Dawn Service Address 2021

Issue date: 
Sunday, 25 April 2021

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 mā, tāne mā

Tēnā tātau katoa. 


I specifically acknowledge

The Hon Grant Robertson, Deputy Prime Minister

Her Excellency The Hon Patricia Forsythe, High Commissioner of Australia

Her Excellency  Ömür Ünsay, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey

Nicola Willis MP

Air Marshal Kevin Short, Chief of Defence Force, and Sherryll Short

Theo Kuper, President, Wellington Returned and Services Association

Veterans and service personnel

This time a year ago, there were no dawn services. Instead, New Zealanders ventured down their driveways to ‘stand at dawn’ – and thereby honour their commitment to commemorate Anzac Day – our national day of remembrance.

Although we could not congregate in solidarity during a time of such anxiety and uncertainty, it seemed more important than ever to be firm in our resolve to honour those who have served our country in times of conflict and war.

We are indeed fortunate that today, we can stand side by side once more.

Anzac Day marks the day that New Zealand and Australian troops landed at Anzac Cove on the morning of the 25th of April, 1915 – and it has also come to represent a time to honour the servicemen and women who have served New Zealand in other theatres of war – and in peacekeeping missions across our military history.

On this day, we stand in quiet reflection on the meaning of sacrifice for those who lost their lives in the service of our country.

They lost their future, their opportunities to experience love and family, and to leave their mark on their communities.

Peter Renshaw, who served on the Pacific front in WWII, reflected on the deep sadness of that loss:

‘I think of the young men who, if they’d lived, would have been grandparents now like I am … That’s just life.  It wasn’t fair.  

You cast your mind back over the years when you get older, and you think about a lot of things, and you realise you’re lucky to be alive.  So many good men went away and never came back.’

On Anzac Day, we do not glorify or romanticise war.

We remember the sacrifice of ordinary men and women who were asked to serve their country, and, in doing so, gave up so much.

We remember how people’s lives were forever changed by that experience.

We remember also the families who have lived with the weight of grief after the loss of loved ones.

We remember the men and women who served on the home front, in support of their neighbours and communities.

We acknowledge our veterans, those who have gone, and those who we are honoured to have still amongst us.

Around New Zealand, in the smallest of communities, in our towns and in our cities, we are again gathering at our war memorials to show our commitment to this most sacred of days.

During my term as Governor General it has been my privilege to represent New Zealanders at Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2018 as  well as at ceremonies here at Pukeahu.  

At Dawn Services in both countries I have experienced both great sadness and enormous pride, in reflecting upon the sacrifice that we acknowledge and the courage that we honour.  But above all, I have felt grief for young lives lost or forever blighted by terrible conflicts.

My hope is that future generations of New Zealanders will continue to observe Anzac Day, to remember the service of our forebears, and recognise how blessed we are to live with the possibilities allowed to us in times of peace and freedom.

As New Zealanders disperse from memorial services today, and return to their lives, I trust we will hold fast to the values we hold dear, as befits the sacrifice and service that we honour this day.

Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou.


Last updated: 
Sunday, 25 April 2021

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