The ANZAC Dawn Service 2015 - A Century on from the Gallipoli Landings: Two Countries Remember
Tens of thousands of Kiwis have marked the centenary of the Gallipoli landings at Anzac Day dawn ceremonies around the country; whilst Australia did the same across the Tasman 3 hours later.
It was the first ever dawn service to be held at the newly-opened Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, which was packed beyond capacity, with 40,000 people turning up.
Press photograph (Stuff.co.nz) from the carillion tower
Nearby roads were closed to accommodate them and those determined to get a good view had been camping out on Buckle St since the early hours. My wife and I had booked a hotel room in the CBD to avoid traffic. Trains started running from Kapiti at 3 am. Jeanine and the children went ahead on Friday night. I was on call, and followed by train after 10pm when my call ended.
A 4 am start, getting Luc from Te Aro, and then off to Pukeahu. The streets were packed with people, emerging from their houses and making their way towards the memorial in a quiet, solemn migration.
The start of the event was marked by a blast of the dawn gun. The parade and procession was led by Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae who said the day was to "honour and remember all those who have served their country in all wars and, in particular, those who have lost their lives in executing that duty". The Governors-General from Australia and New Zealand both attended to mark 100 years since the combined forces landed at Gallipoli.
Australia's Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove said the Gallipoli landings had forged a special bond between the nations.
"Australians will never forget the gallantry of the New Zealanders. Today we stand side by side, from this dawn to dusk in New Zealand, Australia, and Turkey."
Lieutenant Colonel Ron Turner (retired) read the Ode of Remembrance. The crowed responded, "we will remember them", before observing a minute's silence.
As dawn broke the national anthem of Australia, followed by that of New Zealand, could be heard across the capital.
Tea and ANZAC biscuits were made available in the Arras tunnel.
Red rock symbolising Australia, and Gum trees.
I was glad to note Rhys Jones' invitation to have a personal tour before the official opening for those of us who had worked on the project.
I most certainly will take him up on this.
The NZ room is to open officially NEXT Saturday.
From the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior we went down into the Arras tunnel, where we were served Coffee and ANZAC biscuits.
We brushed shoulders with the Acting Prime Minister, Bill English (Minister of Finance) and the Mayor of Wellington with the French Ambassador.
This is one of the great things about New Zealand. How approachable, humble and down-to-earth people are.
Officials and politicians not afraid to have their coffee with the public, and from the same paper cups!
Wellington Regiment drums with battle honours inscribed on them
(apologies for poor quality pics - poor lighting, and phone camera)
We grabbed breakfast at a nearby cafe, and then headed for Te Papa instead.
Boy, was I impressed. The "Scale of Our War" exhibit takes you on an emotional journey that cannot leave you untouched. I was very impressed by the three dimensional visual map of the attack on Chanuk Bair, which brought the events to life for me.
(Photos again not great, taken with my phone, and no flash allowed.)
Photos cannot do the journey the exhibition takes you on justice.
You have to experience it for yourself!
The latter was particularly poignant to me dued to our shared vocation. Interesting for me was that he had served in the Boer Wars, and thus been the enemy of my family's ancestors at some point.
I reflected on the futility of that particular war, and how useless the sacrifice of their young lives had been, and how they no longer receive the recognition of the country they died for. It probably is the subject of a different post, but I suspect that S. African war dead and veterans no longer get the recognition they deserve.
Not the case in New Zealand.
Lest we forget...
A diorama of the camp at Gallipoli. I am proud to say that the quality the painting on the figures in the ANZAC diorama is better than those in this diorama, presumably made by Weta workshop.
Original German Machine gun
The ANZAC equivalent
The Chilling statistics:
...for you, who were our future