Donate to this year's RSA Appeal.


Join us for the virtual Anzac Day Dawn Service from 6am on Saturday at nzherald.co.nz or on Newstalk ZB.

Kiwis might not be able to commemorate Anzac Day the traditional way this year but we're hoping you can help line the streets with poppies by putting our special Anzac poster in your window.

The war against Covid-19 has seen ANZAC Day services around the country cancelled for the first time in NZ history, but that won’t stop New Zealanders showing their respect to those who lost their lives in a very different type of battle. Video / Auckland War Memorial Museum / Dean Purcell / Chris Tarpey / Michael Craig

For the first time in history Anzac Day dawn ceremonies will not be taking place this April 25, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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As a means to pay respects, Kiwis are being urged to "never forget" from inside their bubbles by placing images of poppies in their windows, including a special edition poster from the Herald artist and cartoonist Rod Emmerson, published in today's Herald.

New Zealanders are also being asked to unite at 6am on Saturday at their letterboxes, front doors and even their living rooms. Veterans are encouraged to wear their medals on Anzac Day just as they would for official public gatherings on Anzac Day.

Emmerson said the inspiration for his image came from an Anzac Day illustration four years ago, where he depicted a soldier walking into battlefield along with the Māori whakataukī (proverb): "Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua", or "The people fade from view but the land remains".

"That image has been one of my favourites, so I wanted to use that as a basis and provide depth, do something spiritual and meaningful, rather than just a poppy."

Emmerson, originally from Australia, said it was an "important role" to provide illustrations for Anzac Day, which he'd been doing for about 30 years.

"It is about conveying the empathy we all have for those who gave their lives so we can sleep at night."

On a personal level, it was also recognising the sacrifices of his father, uncles and grandfathers.

"As each new generation comes they need to be reminded what war really is about, the massive loss of life, and the sacrifices."

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

The virtual campaign #StandAtDawn encourages households to gather at their door or gate at 6am, and has the slogan: "Apart, but together as one".

"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."

The national Poppy Day appeal was postponed this year for the first time since 1992, which Clark said could have "huge financial consequences".

The RSA usually collected between $1.5-2 million, but were expecting much less this year.

"We rely on those funds to support our veterans, young and old, and their families," Clark said.

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