The heavens opened and the rain poured down after an emotional dawn parade service in Napier on Thursday morning.

Thousands once again attended Anzac Day memorial services across the region, from large gatherings in Hastings, Napier, and later in the morning in Havelock North and Clive, to small but poignant services in places like Maraekakaho, Dannevirke, Otane and Takapau.

A special service was held at the Forest of Memories on Pukeora Hill on Wednesday evening.

Each year for Anzac Day, Central Hawke's Bay's RSAs had been putting out 214 crosses at Nelly Jull Park in Waipawa to remember each man from the region who fought overseas and didn't make it home. Last year they commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and afterward each cross was burned. The ashes were scattered at this year's service.

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A man looks out at the sea on Marine Pde after the Napier dawn service. Photo / Paul Taylor
A man looks out at the sea on Marine Pde after the Napier dawn service. Photo / Paul Taylor

A spot has been chosen in the Forest of Memories where the ashes of the crosses will be interred and marked with a stone and a plaque.

Mayor Alex Walker played Sunset on the bugle.

More to come.