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Anzac Day: official messages from the New Zealand Prime Minister and Governor-General

Prime Minister's 2013 Anzac Day message, 25 April 2013

Anzac Day is a time when Kiwis around the world take time to pay tribute to the thousands of brave New Zealanders who left their homes and families to fight for the values we hold dear. They could not have foreseen what their sacrifice would come to represent for New Zealanders all these years later.

Each year we pause on April 25th to remember those young men who scaled the cliffs at Gallipoli, and all New Zealanders who have served in wars around the globe since.  And we say thank you to those brave Kiwi men and women who are still serving their country overseas at this time.

The First World War remains one of the most significant events in our history. About 18,500 New Zealanders lost their lives as a direct result of the war and many more were injured.

The First World War changed how New Zealanders viewed themselves, and how other countries viewed us.  The spirit of the Anzacs was forged on those foreign battlefields, many years ago, yet it lives on in Kiwis, and our Australian neighbours, today.

The strength of our relationship, built upon the legacy of the Anzacs, has helped New Zealand and Australia play our part on the international stage to protect peace, freedom and security where these are under threat.

Together our defence forces are making a major and important contribution to the stability of our region and our world.

I would strongly encourage you to pause and take some time to remember these brave men and women on Anzac Day this year.

This year marks 99 years since the outbreak of the First World War. And every year more young people are attending Anzac services in New Zealand, which is great to see.

We are working hard towards preparations for the centenary of the War in 2014-18. This will be a community endeavour with a huge range of events taking place throughout the country.

I hope you attend an Anzac Day commemoration on April 25th this year and remember those who have gone before you.


Governor-General's Anzac Day Message

Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO
New Zealand Governor-General
25 April 2013

Every year we gather on 25 April to commemorate Anzac Day.   As first light breaks we remember this pivotal day in our nation’s history when the men of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915 as part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The Anzacs showed courage, comradeship and compassion and distinguished themselves as soldiers.  

We remember our close comrades the Australians. Sharing Anzac Day means we look across the Tasman in a spirit of mateship and shared sacrifice, just as our soldiers did during the First World War.  As New Zealander and Gallipoli veteran Fred Dill recalled many years later, strong bonds quickly formed with their Australian kin.  He said: “We liked the Aussies. They were the ones that we trusted. We looked out to the Aussies. Aussies and New Zealanders always stuck together, if they could.”

We remember also the Turks, our respected enemy.  On the ridges above what is now Anzac Cove there was mutual respect between the New Zealand and Turkish soldiers. In an armistice to bury the dead in May 1915 they looked each other in the eye, shook hands and swapped cigarettes and other little mementoes.  The man who led the Turkish army at Gallipoli and later led Turkey as its first President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in 1934 wrote a tribute to all the Allied soldiers who died at Gallipoli, including those from New Zealand and Australia.  He assured their grieving mothers that their sons were “now lying in our bosom and in peace…. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

I am particularly aware of the mothers and wives of our soldiers as this year we also mark 120 years since New Zealand women were able to share with men the right to vote in national elections.  In the First World War, with about 100,000 men away, women helped keep the farms and the factories – and of course, the families – of New Zealand going, and hundreds went overseas as nurses and voluntary aids.

We look back a century and see 1913 as the last year of peace before two global wars in two generations enveloped our world, and took a massive toll on New Zealand.  With the centenary commemorations of the First World War beginning in 2014, there will be an emphasis for the next four years on re-evaluating the ‘Great War’ as it is still often called, and its meaning for New Zealand today.

But every year on this day as we gather at commemorative events and hear the Last Post played, we remember all those men and women who have served New Zealand.  And we will recall those who made the supreme sacrifice and recommit ourselves to the solemn pledge to never forget their service and to always remember them.

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