New Zealand Embassy Mexico City
ANZAC Day - Ambassador Christine Bogle's address
ANZAC DAY SPEECH: 25 April 2011
HE Christine Bogle
Tena koutou katoa, buenos dias, and welcome to the 2011 ANZAC Day commemoration and dawn service.
It is good to see so many fellow New Zealanders and Australians here so early in the morning, as well as Mexican and diplomatic colleagues. Thank you all for coming.
Today marks the 96th anniversary of ANZAC Day.
96 years ago, in the faint dawn light, a group of young men from Australia and New Zealand rowed ashore and landed at a cove that now bears their name – ANZAC Cove. The Gallipoli Campaign itself lasted for many months, and was an unprecedented disaster for those who took part, as were the remainder of the battles of the First World War in which New Zealanders and Australians took part.
ANZAC Day is commemorated as a special moment in New Zealand and Australian history.
For New Zealand, which had only one million people at that time, 8,500 people served at Gallipoli, nearly 5,000 were wounded, and 2,700 lost their lives. These included my own grandfather’s brother, who lost his life at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli in September 1915. This inspired my grandfather, Archie Bogle, to enlist with the Royal Engineers in the campaign in France. There he lost another brother, who was a Medical Officer with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, and was killed on the Somme in September 1916. His last surviving brother was killed at Ypres in September 1917.
I believe my grandfather suffered deeply from the death of all three of his brothers in World War 1, and indeed our whole family still feels the absence of those relatives, cousins, uncles and aunties that we should have had, but who were never born.
It was because of his sorrow and anger about these deaths, and all the other deaths in the First World War, that my grandfather decided to enlist again in World War 2, even though he was by then sixty years old, and he ended up going to Tonga, in the South Pacific, in 1943, to help defend Tonga, in the case of attack. I have a special fondness for Tonga, as it was my last posting before coming here to Mexico, and because of my grandfather’s role there.
ANZAC Day reminds us of the strong ties between New Zealand and Australia, of our shared history as well as our shared future. We will always be neighbours and, speaking from New Zealand’s perspective, I can’t imagine a better neighbour and friend than Australia. We often make jokes about each other and are fierce opponents in many sporting contests, but at heart there are no closer friends.
ANZAC Day is not a time to talk about the glories of war, but, rather, its tragedy and futility. It is a day to celebrate peace and reconciliation. In many ANZAC Day commemorations throughout the world, Turkish representatives are present, just as the Ambassador is here today, jointly with our own representatives and people from the many other countries where wars have, sadly, taken place. I am very pleased that the Turkish Ambassador has agreed to read for us the words of Ataturk, which can be found at ANZAC Cove, as well as engraved in stone at the Ataturk Memorial in Wellington. This reading will take place after the laying of wreaths.
ANZAC Day, which is commemorated all round the world, is a way of remembering those young people of 96 years ago - people who will always be an inspiration to us and will never be forgotten. We are also remembering all others who lost their lives in wars.
I cannot end without mentioning too our sorrow for the natural disasters that have taken place in the world in recent times, including the tragic earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan, as well as the floods that hit Queensland late last year. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims of those disasters.
We shall proceed to the laying of wreaths and, once that is over, anyone who wishes can lay a flower amongst the wreaths.
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.