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Speech

National Commemorative Service, Chunuk Bair

Issue date: 
Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Speaker: 
The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

Kei aku Mana Nui

Kei aku Mana Roa

Tēnā koutou katoa

Tēnei hoki te mihi o Aotearoa.

Ki te Mana o Tākei

Ki te Mana o te whenua nei o Karipori

Mihi mai, karanga mai.

 

To those who bear noble and enduring authority

I greet you in the name of Aotearoa-New Zealand

And to the Nation of Turkey who bears the ‘Mana’

Of the land we call Gallipoli

Let me acknowledge your invitation and welcome.

 

Sir Alan Duncan, United Kingdom Minister of State for Europe and the Americas;

Hon Peter Dutton, Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Immigration and Border Protection;

 Husseyin Yayman, Turkish Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism;

senior military representatives; Canakkale authorities, Ambassadors, Defence Attaches, other diplomatic representatives; ladies and gentlemen.

Last year I was privileged to lead New Zealand’s centennial commemorations for the Battle of Messines in Belgium – and for the Battle of Beersheba in Israel.

My predecessor, Sir Jerry Mateparae, came here for the centenary of the battle for Chunuk Bair in 2015.

It is a profound experience to attend such commemorations, and David and I are honoured to represent the people of New Zealand at this year’s Anzac commemorations in Gallipoli.

The centennial commemorations have acknowledged and strengthened our ties with the other countries that fought in conflicts in Turkey, in Sinai-Palestine and on the Western Front.

Our shared history with Turkey and Australia is deeply significant to the people of all three countries, because we all have forebears buried here.

On behalf of the people of New Zealand, I offer sincere thanks to our Turkish hosts for undertaking the enormous task of holding these commemorations every year, and for your generous welcome to visitors from New Zealand and Australia to your shores.  We also acknowledge the tragic losses the Turkish people suffered, through this senseless and ill conceived battle 103 years ago.

One hundred years ago, following the November Armistice, some of the men who had fought here, returned to Gallipoli, and found and marked the graves of their fallen comrades.  

They marvelled at how the Anzacs ever managed to hold onto their tiny beachhead and were moved by the evidence of loss and sacrifice that surrounded them.

Tragically, those veterans of the campaign suffered further losses. Eleven of them lie buried just across the Narrows at Canakkale, victims of the 1918 flu epidemic and exposure to another harsh winter on the Gallipoli peninsula.

The centenary of the First World War has prompted valuable new research, and we now know that twice as many New Zealand Service personnel fought here than was previously thought.

This new understanding confirms why Gallipoli has continued to have such an enduring impact on our national consciousness.

When we visit Gallipoli, we are confronted with the knowledge that this entire battlefield is a cemetery. The remains of those who fought and died here lie scattered amongst the rugged hills and ravines before us.

Only 413 of the New Zealanders who died at Gallipoli have identified graves on the peninsula. The remaining 1,920 are commemorated on the memorial to the missing here at Chunuk Bair and similar memorials at Hill 60, Lone Pine and Twelve Tree Copse.

These memorials to the missing have become sites of pilgrimage, where New Zealanders can pay homage to their forebears and express their sorrow.

Today we also remember the wounded and sick New Zealanders who were evacuated from Gallipoli, only to die at sea, in Egypt or further afield.

Others died as a result of their wounds, months or years after their return to New Zealand.

One such man was Padre Patrick Dore, who was shot in the spine while ministering to the wounded here on Chunuk Bair on 9 August 1915, and eventually succumbed to his wound in July 1918.

Today, as we read the names on the graves and memorials to the missing, we recall that these men put aside their peace-time lives in the service of our nation.  They truly were a citizen army. Some were in their teens.  The oldest were in their 50s, and they represented every strata of society and every region of our country.

For every one of those names, there is a story of a man, and a family and community made bereft by his loss.

Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou

We will remember them

 

Last updated: 
Thursday, 3 May 2018

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