AnzacStrap

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it is an Anzac Day like no other, but the purpose of honouring the Anzac commitment and "enduring hopes of peace" remains the same.

The Covid-19 lockdown has cancelled Anzac services today, but this morning thousands of Kiwis are not letting it stop them paying their respects.

Up and down the country, New Zealanders gathered at their letterboxes, front doors and
living rooms as part of the "Stand at Dawn" campaign, and tuning in to a live stream of a virtual Anzac Day service.

Your photos: Kiwis gather in their bubbles to pay their respects on Anzac Day

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The PM took part, too - standing at the driveway of Premier House in Wellington at dawn with her partner Clarke Gayford and father Ross Ardern.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stands at dawn on the driveway of Premier House with her father Ross Ardern, left, and partner Clarke Gayford. Photo / Pool
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stands at dawn on the driveway of Premier House with her father Ross Ardern, left, and partner Clarke Gayford. Photo / Pool

In a broadcast address this morning, Defence Minister Ron Mark said many of the usual Anzac Day activities couldn't take place this year under lockdown. However, there was still plenty Kiwis could do to mark the day.

"Pause, reflect, pay our respects and give thanks to those who gave so much not just 105 years ago at Gallipoli, or the six long years of the Second World War but for every conflict and ever operation which we have been involved with since them. We owe them that it is a privilege to do so," Mark said.

"This Anzac Day look after each other, remember, commemorate and give thanks - but inside your bubble," he said.

Mark spoke to the ongoing relationship of "mateship" with Australia, "binding us today as ever".

"While it was forged on the beach of Gallipoli, in the years since we have served together all over the world."

"We should be and are proud of that relationship, and strength we give each other."

We should look back on that of our soldiers to draw inspiration in the new battle against Covid-19, Mark said.

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The measures we'd taken to combat Covid-19 had "turned our lives upside down" - but the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, which struck in the same year as World War I ended, provided a "terrible" reminder of what could have happened.

The Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy has recorded a video message for Anzac Day. Video / Supplied

Mark spoke of a training camp near his home at Featherston, where 2500 men became sick from influenza, and 172 died over a few short weeks.

An RNZAF officer stands outside her house in Hobsonville Point at dawn to attend Anzac Day under lockdown. Photo / Dean Purcell
An RNZAF officer stands outside her house in Hobsonville Point at dawn to attend Anzac Day under lockdown. Photo / Dean Purcell

In all, about 9000 New Zealanders were killed, adding to the more than 18,000 who soldiers killed in the war.

"Today as we work to face the ongoing challenge we should look back on the strength and endurance shown during battles such as 'Bloody Passchendaele' in 1915 ... and many more since.

"As Minister of Defence I am very proud of our defence force, and thank all those working during this current crisis.

"As always, they stand ready to do more, as they have always done, to step in threats to national wellbeing and safety, while lending aid and support to our Pacific neighbours and friends.

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"Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou. Lest we forget."

Veterans, despite not being able to gather alongside their peers, donned their uniforms and medals, just as they would for official public Anzac Day gatherings.

In a special address this morning, Ardern told the nation today would be an "Anzac Day that hasn't been done before".

"It is an important tradition spanning generations, acknowledging those who served our country and sacrificed their all.

"Things are different this year but we are united by our respect for veterans and service personnel.

"Individual acts of commemoration – that is what will form our collective tribute.

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"But so do our acts every day. We are a nation that has had its character defined by many things, but one is the sacrifice of others."

Ardern referenced the more than 11,000 soldiers who lost their lives, the 140,000 men and women who served overseas, and those on the home front.

"These figures will never be abstract. Each represents a father, mother, brother, friend afflicted by conflict."

A virtual service is designed to bring people in isolation together this Anzac Day during the Covid-19 lockdown. Photo / Michael Craig
A virtual service is designed to bring people in isolation together this Anzac Day during the Covid-19 lockdown. Photo / Michael Craig

Today would involve finding new ways of remembering but the purpose remained the same.

"Today we honour the Anzac commitment and reflect on enduring hopes for peace in a world that does not ask for sacrifice of war but instead asks for a commit to empathy kindness, and shared humanity.

"May we remember that as we stand together this Anzac Day.

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"Lest we forget."

In her address this morning, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy also drew on the parallels between wartime and the coronavirus pandemic.

"100 years ago, as New Zealanders observed their 5th Anzac Day, many were also grieving for family members who had died in the 1918 flu pandemic.

"Today, on Anzac Day 2020, we are afflicted by a new global health crisis which has prevented us from standing side by side and paying our respects to our war dead.

"We will not go to public commemorations, Returned and Services Association gatherings, or even to the homes of family and friends.

"Our veterans, who are among the most vulnerable New Zealanders at this time, will not share this significant day with their comrades.

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"Instead, we will honour their service to our nation from our homes across New Zealand."

The virtual service was also be broadcast on Newstalk ZB, iHeart radio or National Radio at 6am, with coverage starting from about 5.45am.

Because of the Covid-19 restrictions it is the first time in history Anzac Day dawn ceremonies are not taking place.

READ MORE:
Anzac Day 2020: What to watch at home this weekend
Anzac Day: Special recording of the Last Post, Reveille to play during lockdown services
Resourcefulness encouraged for Anzac Day 2020 commemorations
The Far North's Anzac Day

Returned and Services' Association president BJ Clark said the RSA greatly appreciated the support for "virtual services" this Anzac Day.

"It will be disappointing not going to the service but I am looking forward to walking to my gate on Saturday morning, and seeing people in my neighbourhood out with candles or torches, and poppies on their fences or in their windows."

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Other ways Kiwis paying respects from inside their bubbles include placing images of poppies in their windows, including a special-edition poster from Herald artist and cartoonist Rod Emmerson, available to download below.

The official service will begin at 6am with the Carillon sounding, followed by the Piper Lament and Last Post.

The Ode of Remembrance will then be recited first in te reo Māori by Miki Apiti, RSA kaumatua, followed by RSA president BJ Clark in English.

There will then be one minute's silence.

A rendition of Reveille will follow, before the New Zealand national anthem, Australian anthem and The Anzac Address by Defence and Veterans Minister Ron Mark.

Along with services, the national RSA Poppy Day appeal was postponed for the first time since 1992, which Clark said could have "huge financial consequences".

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Sunrise over the Cenotaph - Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo / Michael Craig
Sunrise over the Cenotaph - Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo / Michael Craig

The RSA usually collected between $1.5 million and $2m, but was expecting much less this year with the appeal cancelled and economic consequences of Covid-19.

In light of this shortfall, the country's largest philanthropic entity, Perpetual Guardian, has stepped up and started a Givealittle page, contributing $25,000 from its own members and a further $1500 from the company itself.

"The work the RSA does is incredibly important, so we are very happy to be involved with this," said Liz Gibbs, head of philanthropy at Perpetual Guardian.

Anzac Day

• To make a donation to the RSA visit this Givealittle page

• Join us for the virtual Anzac Day Dawn Service from 5.45am on Saturday at nzherald.co.nz or Newstalk ZB.

• Print out our special Anzac Day poster, pin it in your window and help us line the streets with poppies.

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• For more ideas on how to commemorate Anzac Day virtually, visit the Stand At Dawn website