A Guide to Anzac Day for New Zealanders
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Resources for your Community Event

This page includes information and resources that may be useful for those organising Anzac Day commemorations. On the right you will find links to an information handout that could be printed out and made available to the audience, and links to transcripts of speeches from earlier Anzac Days.

Messages from the Prime Minister and the Governor-General

Some organisers of Anzac Day events have indicated that they would like to read out a message from the Prime Minister or the Governor-General.

Prime Minister's 2016 Anzac Day message

This content of message is embargoed until 25 April 2016. It should not be republished or broadcast before that date.

One hundred years ago we saw New Zealand’s first Anzac Services held on April 25, 1916, following calls for a day to honour those lost at Gallipoli.

As a country of barely one million people at the time, New Zealand was profoundly affected by the First World War. The price we paid was a high one. More than 18,000 New Zealanders lost their lives, leaving few families unaffected.

The First World War helped shape our nation and our shared values. It cemented our ties with other countries, in particular our kinship with Australia. Today, communities on both sides of the Tasman will gather to reflect on the sacrifices made and the bonds forged between our two nations.

Despite what they endured, the actions of New Zealanders during 1916 – in the tunnels below Arras, on the perilous North Sea, and on the fields of France – were true to the Anzac spirit of bravery, compassion and comradeship established at Gallipoli.

As commemorations shift focus from Gallipoli to the significant contribution made by New Zealand on the Western Front, we remember especially the Battle of the Somme, where our forces were exposed to the new horrors of gas and mechanised warfare.

Early Anzac services held great significance for those who grieved for lost loved ones, many of whom had no known grave and almost all of whom were buried half a world away.

The day has grown to become a time for us to collectively honour all affected by conflict and war, both past and present. This year as we mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, we remember those who served in the Vietnam War. We also recognise the 75th anniversary of the Battle for Crete in the Second World War.

Last year Kiwis turned out in unprecedented numbers to Anzac Day services and events, including around 40,000 who attended the first-ever dawn ceremony at Wellington's Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. This engagement illustrates our nation’s enduring respect for the Anzacs and their proud legacy.

The Anzac legacy lives on through our current service personnel, who continue to work towards a peaceful future. As we pay tribute to the sacrifices of the past, we also look forward with hope.

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister of New Zealand

Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO Governor-General of New Zealand's 2016 Anzac Day message

This content of message is embargoed until 25 April 2016. It should not be republished or broadcast before that date.

On this day one hundred years ago, New Zealanders first gathered together to honour their loved ones who had perished at Gallipoli.

Since then, Anzac Day has become the focal point for New Zealanders and Australians to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of all involved in military conflict.

During this period of the First World War Centenary, we pay particulartribute to the contribution made by New Zealanders on the Western Front, where our soldiers encountered industrialised modern warfare in its full, devastating form. It was here that we suffered the greatest loss of life, with more than 12,000 New Zealanders killed between 1916 and the end of the War.

Over the course of 1916 New Zealanders exemplified the Anzac spirit of comradeship, courage and compassion –  whether it be on HMS New Zealand in the Battle of Jutland, with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles in the Middle East,  the New Zealand Tunnelling Company in France, or with the New Zealand Division in the Battle of the Somme.

The qualities that defined our Anzacs are qualities for all New Zealanders to aspire to.

The increasing numbers of 21st century New Zealanders attending Anzac Day services reflect our deep appreciation of both the sacrifice of our forebears, and the commitment of our current active service personnel.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association. Formed in 1916 by returning Anzacs, the RSA continues to provide support to our veterans, our service men and women and their families, and is an integral part of communities nationwide.

These centenary commemorations connect past with present, action with remembrance. As we pause to honour those who have served their country over this past century, we also honour those who serve on our behalf today.

Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou – we will remember them.

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

Other information

See also the Typical Order of Ceremony and Traditions & Rituals sections of this site.

It is intended that this section of the site will be regularly updated, so that new material is available each year to those organising Anzac Day events. We would be interested to know if you have ideas about other information we could usefully include here - please email us at: webmaster@mch.govt.nz

Anzac Day


Free informational handout to distribute to the public at your Anzac ceremony. The handout includes information about the ceremony and about the significance of Anzac Day.

Download here:

- Anzac Day Information Sheet, 55k Acrobat PDF file - Anzac Day Information Sheet, 55k Word Doc

Anzac Day


If you are composing an Anzac Day speech you might find it useful to see what others have said in the past. These links are to transcripts of some recent Anzac Day speeches.

Speech links
- Rt Hon John Key, 2009 - wreath laying at National War Memorial, Wellington

- Governor-General Anand Satyanand, 2009 - address at the Anzac Day dawn service, Gallipoli

- PM Helen Clark, 2005: To Turkish International Audience, at dawn service, Anzac Cove, at NZ 90th commemorations