The Governor-General addressed hundreds of patriotic Kiwis who attended the Anzac Day Dawn Service in Pukeahu in Wellington.
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae said: "It is a sacred ritual for us to meet at dawn on this day, because that is when the men of the Australian and New Zealand and Army Corps, the Anzacs, first landed on the beach of Gallipoli 101 years ago today.
"We know that the Australians landed first, to be followed, later in the morning, by the New Zealanders.
"The commemorations have cast a spotlight on events that changed our nation forever.
"They have also sparked a renewed interest in our family histories. We want to know and understand about how our family members were affected by the First World War.
"In my own case, I now know more about what my grandfathers did in the war.
"One of them fought at Gallipoli and then went on to serve on the Western Front. The other also served on the Western Front. Both were wounded, repatriated and medically-discharged before the end of the war.
"New Zealanders may have their origins in very different cultures, speak different languages, and worship in different ways.
"What we all share in our histories is a tragic legacy of armed conflict and war.
"Surely we wish it were otherwise. Surely, our hope is that there will be a time when war and conflict are consigned to history.
"And while this may seem a lofty aspiration, surely it is incumbent on us to pursue it.
"For now, the reality of our situation is that we still need people who are prepared to serve their country in our defence force -- in our Navy, Army and Air Force.
"Today, we acknowledge the men and women of our defence force who serve their country loyally and honourably.
"Anzac Day is especially significant for New Zealanders who are far from home and family.
"We wish our service men and women well today, wherever they may be. We also wish that for the men and women from Australia serving their country."