This year's joint New Zealand and Australian Anzac Day services at Gallipoli have been cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement this morning, but no decisions have been made on domestic Anzac Day commemorations yet.

The Gallipoli Anzac Day services are jointly organised by Australia and New Zealand under an agreement between the two governments, and the cancellation covers the Anzac Dawn Service, the Australian Lone Pine Service and the New Zealand Service at Chunuk Bair.

Turkish authorities who host the events have been advised.


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"It is with deep sadness the decision has been made by both the Australian and New Zealand Governments to cancel this year's Anzac services at Gallipoli," Ardern said in a statement this morning.

"The Gallipoli services in particular have become a pilgrimage of sorts for many New Zealanders. But with global travel restrictions and isolation requirements in place in most countries it is simply not practical to hold this year's event."

She said she has been in direct contact with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison about the decision.

Domestic Anzac commemorations would have to abide by the new restrictions on public gatherings, and the Government will be discussing this with the RSA in coming weeks.

On Monday Ardern said that any indoor or outdoor gathering of more than 500 people should be cancelled.

This applied to non-essential events including sporting and religious events, but excluded school or university events.

More guidelines for smaller gatherings will be announced later this week.

Minister of Defence Ron Mark said the cancellation of joint Anzac services was "something we would normally consider unimaginable".

"But then these are unimaginable times and just as they sought to protect our people, so must we."

Gallipoli is the biggest overseas Anzac Day commemoration New Zealand jointly runs with Australia.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade makes decisions on other commemorations in capitals across the world, and these are being made on a case-by-case basis.