New Zealand Embassy Brasilia, Brazil

Remarks by New Zealand Ambassador, Anzac Day, Sao Paulo, Wednesday 25 April 2012

Ka tangi te titi

Ka tangi te kaka

Ka tangi hoki ahau

Tihei mauri ora!

 

It is great to see so many New Zealanders and Australians celebrating Anzac Day in Sao Paulo tonight.  Thank you all for coming, and a particular  thank you to Karlene and Paula from the Consulate General for organizing the event this year.  That we all are here shows how important the Anzac spirit has become for our nations nearly one century after the battle at Anzac Cove.

 

I think Anzac Day has different meanings to different people.  When I was growing up in New Zealand in the 1970s – one of the best upbringings possible and about as far from conflict as you could get – my grandparents and parents told me different things about war.

 

My grandparents told me about our country’s proud military history and the contributions they had made in the Pacific in the second world war.  One of my grandfathers had a successful small business and talked about the war as history.  My other grandfather was injured in the war and retired on a war pension.  For him the war remained part of his life, both the positive of pride in having served, and negative in his outlook on the world.

 

My parents told me quite different things about war and why there were conflicts in our region, in Vietnam and then in Cambodia.  Why new children from those countries were arriving at my school and what had happened to them.

 

Last night in New Zealand and Australia millions of our family and friends remembered our soldiers who fought and died at Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915.    That battle is widely regarded as a significant milestone in the passage towards nationhood of both our countries, and of the birth of unique, independent national identities.

 

We remember too our soldiers who have served and fallen in the other battles where our two countries have served so proudly, and often shoulder-to-shoulder, over the last nearly 100 years.  New Zealand has a connection to Brazil too through the second world war when we both had forces fighting alongside one another for the allied effort in Italy.

 

Today is also a day for us to salute the service men and women of New Zealand and Australia who are on deployment around the globe, from our own neighbourhood of the Pacific to mission as far away as the Middle East and Africa.

 

It is important to remember why our countries do this.  It is not about any one particular issue but rather a commitment and determination to uphold principles that we hold dear, such as democracy, human dignity and peace.

 

Another principle we celebrate on Anzac Day is the importance of family, and the special bond that has developed between New Zealand and Australia. We are there for each other in times of war and during peace, in times of comfort and times of challenge.  No measure can be placed on what Australia’s practical and moral support meant to us with the Pike River Mine tragedy and the devastating Christchurch earthquakes.  And New Zealand was proud to go to Australia’s aid against the ravages of the Victorian bush fires, the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi.

 

The Gallipoli campaign gave us a confidence in ourselves, and in each other.  The bravery, commitment and sacrifice of our servicemen and women continues to be an inspiration to us as we face the challenges of today.

 

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