It was an 11-year-old boy's interest in Anzac Day that led three generations to attend a dawn ceremony together for the first time.

Kevin Grose, his nephew David and his great nephew Liam, David's 11-year-old son, were three of thousands who attended the Anzac Day ceremony and parade at the cenotaph at Laurie Hall Park yesterday.

Mr Grose has been attending the dawn ceremonies for 25-odd years but this was the first time he had attended with his two nephews.

"Liam goes to Purua Area School and they'd been doing an Anzac research and he'd shown an interest in that and this was his first venture out.

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"I said to him he had a great great uncle that had passed away at war."

That great great uncle was Francis Thorburn, Kevin's mum's brother from Ruatangata, who was in the 24th Infantry Battalion during World War II where he participated in the Tunisian Campaign and then went to Italy where he was shot and killed aged 24.

The family carried an image of Mr Thorburn with them yesterday. Mr Grose said it was the first time he had taken the image of his uncle to a dawn ceremony.

"I thought this would be a good opportunity for him to learn a little bit about Anzac Day and also learn a little bit about a family member who passed away fighting for his freedom."

He enlarged the image of Mr Thorburn, framed it, and screwed two of his medals on to it so Liam could carry it during the parade.

"It was really quite exhilarating because I thought 'this is neat' he's shown an interest in it all by himself.

"Liam loved it, he was wrapped. He had a nice little smile on his face that he could carry that and see Frank's name that's up on the cenotaph up there."

Mr Grose said it was important for the younger generation to learn about Anzac Day.

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"I've let everyone know that I'm always down there and encouraged them to come. That's why I was so excited about Liam wanting to go because a lot of them say it's too early in the morning. So when you get one of the kids showing enthusiasm that was really good for me," he said.