New Zealanders gathered early on Tuesday morning to commemorate Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance for those who have served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
The 108th Anzac Day dawn services took place across the country with large services in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
At the Auckland Domain, thousands of people braved the chilly weather to attend the ceremony, which included a performance by Vanguard military school cadets and a haka in front of the war memorial. Historian Dr Stephen Clarke explained the significance of the empty coffin at the top of the cenotaph, which commemorates fallen New Zealanders and those who have never been found.
In Wellington, around 3000 people gathered at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park for the Dawn Service, which included a parade and a message from Taranaki Whānui’s Peter Jackson. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was also in attendance at a service in Upper Hutt, where a helicopter flew over during the ceremony.
In Christchurch, veterans paraded up Worcester Boulevard to the newly-restored Citizens War Memorial for the service. Mayor Phil Mauger said it was a special year for the city as the Dawn Service returned to Cathedral Square for the first time since the devastating earthquakes.
Despite the cold weather, Kiwis around the country came together to honor and remember those who have served and sacrificed for their country. The day is an important reminder of the high price of war and the need to work towards peace.