A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Gallipoli opened Moana Jarman-Taylor's eyes to the futility of war and made her more proud to be a Kiwi.

The Whangarei-based Crown prosecutor won an essay competition in 2000 when she was a 15-year-old Whangarei Girls' High School student and accompanied then Prime Minister Helen Clark and other dignitaries to Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli.

Fifteen years later, the mother-of-one reckons the significance and awareness of Anzac Day would continue to grow each year.

A distant relative of hers fought in World War I at Gallipoli while her maternal grandfather, John Dent, battled foreign forces in WWII in Monte Cassino, Italy.


The 2000 trip was her first to Turkey but she went back to Gallipoli in 2009 with her parents and a brother.

"We went to Gallipoli a few days after the commemorations and it was nice to see the place empty. We could then explore the graveyard at our own pleasure," she said.

Ms Jarman-Taylor wants to take her husband Leon and 3-month-old son Max to Gallipoli in future.

"Anzac Day is very important but when you have a child, you make sure he is aware of the sacrifices war veterans have made.

"I researched the Jarman side of my family after my 2000 trip and my great, great uncle is buried in Gallipoli. This goes some generations back so he must have fought for England.

She said in 2000, the New Zealand ceremony at Chunuk Bair in particular struck a chord with her.

"To stand on the site that was the reason for so much national pride and so much heartache has meaning beyond words."

The thoughts of her grandfather's participation in WWII and the fact she was an history student were factors in her writing an essay.