Anzac Day Service
No Anzac Day service this year
Due to the current Omicron outbreak, we won’t be holding our usual Anzac Day service at the Air Force Museum this year. Visitors are still most welcome to lay a poppy in remembrance at our Roll of Honour. We will be sharing commemorative content on our Facebook page and blog in honour of our national day of remembrance.
Check out our ‘Spirit of Anzac’ installation at Westfield Riccarton Mall this April:
Support the work we do to preserve and share New Zealand’s military aviation history:
The Origins of Anzac Day
In December 1914, during preparations for the invasion of Gallipoli, in what is now Turkey, the New Zealand Expeditionary Force contingents were grouped together for the first time as the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Together, they provided almost half of the total number of troops in the Allied Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF). From this point on, all combined Australian and New Zealand forces became known as ‘ANZACs’.
On 25 April 1915, Australians and New Zealanders landed together at Gallipoli, at a place later called Anzac Cove. This date has been adopted ever since as the national day of remembrance for war dead in both countries. This first observance of Anzac Day in New Zealand took place in 1916.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.
E kore rātou e kaumātuatia
Pēnei i a tātou kua mahue nei
E kore hoki rātou e ngoikore
Ahakoa pēhea i ngā āhuatanga o te wā
I te hekenga atu o te rā
Tae noa ki te aranga mai i te ata
Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou
Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou.
In the Spring of 1915, fields of red poppies bloomed in the churned-up ground of the Flanders battlefields in Belgium. This sight inspired Canadian officer John McCrae to write the famous poem,’ In Flanders Fields’ and resulted in the red poppy becoming an internationally recognised symbol of remembrance.
Beginning in America in 1920, poppies were made and sold to raise funds for veterans.
The New Zealand RSA sold over 260,000 poppies for veterans’ welfare in the first ever poppy day for ANZAC Day 1922. This tradition has continued to this day, with the poppy now representing the sacrifice made by New Zealanders in all conflicts since World War One.
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Anzac Day Over the Decades
Since Anzac Day was marked for the first time in 1916, Kiwis and Australians around the world have gathered to reflect on New Zealand and Australia’s national day of remembrance. The day holds special significance, because it is an opportunity to remember and honour the service and sacrifice of those who have gone before us. The Museum archives unit documents how…
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Whakapapa connections – who we are, and where we come from – are how we relate to our families and our own place in the world. Whether you’re researching a military or civilian ancestor, this blog will help begin your journey into exploring your family history – a journey you can start online.