It is "special" and "brilliant" to have the community able to stand together this year to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for our country.
Anzac Day marks New Zealand's first major engagement of World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey.
While it was a terrible defeat, it has gone on to become a legend of sacrifice.
This year the installation of the Rotorua District Field of Remembrance marked the start of public Anzac commemorations in the district.
The field of crosses has been installed at the Cenotaph in Government Gardens for the last time.
Originally created for the centenary of WWI (2014 – 2018), each of the 110 crosses represents a soldier from the Rotorua district who lost their life while serving during WWI, 1914 to 1918.
The crosses will remain in place until Monday.
Residents and visitors are invited to attend several free Anzac commemorations in Rotorua to reflect and remember all the men and women who have served their country.
On Sunday, Te Arawa Māori Returned Services League is hosting a dawn service at Ōhinemutu from 5.45am, and it includes a short parade past the Muruika Soldiers' Cemetery near St Faith's Church.
Following the dawn service, the Anzac Day parade will depart from the new Memorial Plaza at 9am, and make its way to the Energy Events Centre where Rotorua's Civic Memorial Service will begin at 9.30am.
Rotorua Returned Services Association president Ron Hope says this year everything has fallen into place quite nicely and it felt brilliant to be able to have the services with the community together this year.
"Last year, as far as organising, we had everything set up and suddenly it wasn't going to happen.
"It's a really good feeling to be able to get back into it."
He says they like to see as many people at the services as possible.
It is also a chance to remind people that the RSA is still very much at the fore of working with returned services and their families, he says.
Ron gave a special mention to the flag parties and Cenotaph guard, which will be formed by the cadet squadrons of Rotorua.
In the Civic Memorial Service, the officiating minister will be the Reverend Tom Poata and guest speakers are navy warrant officer Lance Graham.
Student representatives from Rotorua Girls' High School will also speak including Helena Dou'ble (head girl) and Hope Smith (deputy head girl).
Ken Douglas will play The Last Post on his bugle before Ode to the Fallen is read by WO11 Pererika Makiha (president of Te Arawa Māori Returned Services League) and Ron Hope (President of Rotorua Returned Services Association), in te reo Māori and English respectively.
During the placing of the wreaths three pipers from the City of Rotorua Highland Pipe Band will play.
Music to conclude the event will be performed by the Rotorua Brass Band and Elisha Hulton, along with students from Rotorua Boys High School.
There will be a special performance by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band at the band Rotunda following the service.
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says Anzac Day is always an amazing community day and a wonderful opportunity for collective reflection.
"It's very heartwarming to see all of those who turn out, young and old, coming together to remember those who fought for us and those whose lives were lost, and to acknowledge those in the service of their country today.
"This is one of those occasions that is imprinted in our history and the increasing number of people who attend the services shows how relevant it still is today."
She says we will all well remember that last year, when Anzac Day fell during lockdown, we all stood at the bottom of our driveways – standing together apart.
"This year we are once again able to get together as a community which will make it even more special."
- For more details on what the services will include, go to the Rotorua Lakes Council website.
Anzac Day Timings (Sunday, April 25)
- 5.45am: Dawn Service at Ohinemutu
- 8.50am: Meet at Memorial Plaza (Lake end of Fenton St)
- 9am: Anzac parade leaves Memorial Plaza and heads through Government Gardens
- 9.20am: Parade arrives at Energy Events Centre
- 9.30am: Anzac civic memorial service begins at Energy Events Centre (expected duration: 1 hour)
Anzac Day Road closures
*Memorial Plaza at the lakefront will be closed from 8am to 10am.
*People driving to the Energy Events Centre are encouraged to avoid the Princes Gate entrance to Government Gardens and instead enter past Polynesian Spa and take the road behind Rotorua Museum and the Energy Events Centre, or arrive before 9am.