Like many New Zealanders, Greg Brownless and Garry Webber have connections to Anzac Day that date back to their childhood and teenage years.

The mayors will both attend two local services on Wednesday and will join thousands of Tauranga and Western Bay residents in commemorating all those who died serving New Zealand during war, and honouring returned and current servicemen and women, past and present.

Brownless will be at the Tauranga RSA Cenotaph dawn service on Cameron Rd and then the Mount Maunganui memorial service on Marine Parade.

Read more: Anzac Day 2018: 'You can't unsee things. You can't unhear things. You can't unsmell things.'
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For many years he accompanied his own father to Anzac Day services.

Gordon Brownless, who died in 2011 at the age of 91, was a serviceman in the Second World War and served in North Africa and the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.

"Gradually over the last few years he and his mates have passed away but it's good that we still remember the likes of lots of them," Tauranga's mayor said.

He said his father never played up his service and did not apply for the medals he won until his children found out about them and asked him to.

Brownless said he grew up realising what Anzac Day truly meant.

"I think it's great that we still remember and honour those people who have served in the armed forces for our benefit and that even though many years have passed since the great wars, people still do remember and take notice."

He said the crowds at Anzac Day services seemed to grow every year.

"And that's the opposite to what people might have expected and some of the service people themselves. Gone but not forgotten."

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber (left) and Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless. Photos / File
Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber (left) and Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless. Photos / File

Western Bay mayor Garry Webber said he had also noticed the increase in Anzac Day attendance over the years.

"There was a period when it did dwindle off, but I think that there is a far better understanding now of the sacrifice, and so over the last 10 years I have seen quite a steady increase, particularly in the younger generation. To me that's really great."

Webber's history with Anzac Day goes back to the early 1960s when he was a cadet during high school, forming a guard of honour at the cenotaph on April 25.

He was also a member of the Hauraki Regimental Band during those school years.

On Wednesday, Webber will be at the Anzac Day dawn service in Maketu and then the memorial service in Omokoroa.

He said the legacy left behind by New Zealand's war veterans should never be forgotten and he was pleased the younger generation were grasping that and taking it on board.

"To me, just the sacrifice that people made for those of us that never had to go overseas is just incredible. Those of us who never had to go there should never forget the sacrifice that those people made on our behalf."