The Governor-General has called on New Zealanders to find out more find out more their ancestors' experiences of World War I.

In a speech to those gathered at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Sir Jerry Mateparae reflected on the meaning of Anzac Day before asking Kiwis to find out more about what their ancestors had gone through during the war.

"It is difficult to imagine the depth of sorrow, shock and distress of those who attended. For many, the Anzac Day ceremony was a funeral service for their loved ones, as the remains of most of the 2779 men who died in Gallipoli were in un-named or unmarked graves, or buried at sea, halfway around the world," he said.

"History is not a fixed narrative, but a shared understanding which can deepen and become clearer over time. I encourage every New Zealander to find out more about their ancestors' experiences of the First World War, particularly during this commemorative period, so that we never forget the price they paid for the freedoms we enjoy today."


Sir Jerry said while the meaning of Anzac Day had evolved over time, one thing had remained constant: "Our respect for what we call 'the Anzac spirit'."

"As we stand here today, 100 years after our forebears first gathered on the first Anzac Day, we keep the memory of our fallen men and women alive, and look to the future with gratitude and hope."

He said it was evident Anzac Day had not been forgotten as it still brought hundreds of Kiwis together each year.