The Rotorua Anzac Day dawn service's first Australian guest speaker stood before hundreds this morning, speaking of the camaraderie between New Zealand and Australia.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Bradley Foster, an Australian soldier working and teaching in the New Zealand Defence Force, shook as he took to the lecturn.
"I apologise for not giving any of my speech today in te reo Maori," he said.
"I could not do your beautiful language justice."
Despite not using te reo, Foster went on to give his mihimihi in English, describing his mountain and river in Australia.
It was with pride he announced his marae as Ngati Tumatauenga, the New Zealand Army marae in Waiouru.
Time dims small events, but not great events, Foster said.
"I honour all from our community that have served our nation.
"To be here today is quite surreal and it's heartening to see such significant attendance. I know the ever decreasing ranks of our veterans appreciate this."
Foster said he was proud as an Australian soldier to personify the Anzac spirit.
Foster joined the Australian Army at 23 as a rifleman in 1999.
"The achievements of Anzacs can be measured outside of warship.
"By courage, determination, mateship and a sacrifice which set the standard and inspired their countrymen for generations that followed."
Foster was the first Australian guest speaker at Rotorua's dawn service.
"Freedom only survives as long as people are willing to defend it, that is the spirit of Anzac.
"It is now our responsibility to defend it."
Foster served in East Timor from 2003 before posting to the School of Infantry in 2007. He became a sergeant in 2008 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.
By 2015 he was posted to the 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, as the company sergeant major, before coming to New Zealand at the start of this year.