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Commemorating Anzac Day at home

Published: 16 April 2020

Anzac Day is a time to reflect on the servicemen and servicewomen, past and present, who have displayed courage and self-sacrifice serving our country.

We can't attend Anzac Day parades and services during the COVID-19 lockdown, but here are some ways to commemorate Anzac Day at home.

Stand At Dawn – Anzac Day to be commemorated in our bubbles

Stand together, apart. 

The call has come from across the Tasman to ‘Stand At Dawn’ on Anzac Day. The Returned and Services Association (RSA) and the New Zealand Defence Force are responding to the call with New Zealand’s Stand At Dawn at 6am on Anzac Day, Saturday 25 April.

They are asking Kiwis to join our Australian friends to commemorate Anzac Day while staying safely in our bubbles – in doorways or windows, or from front porches or balconies.

At 6am, a virtual Anzac Day service will begin on Radio NZ National, bringing New Zealanders elements of a traditional Anzac Day service including The Last Post. Those who join Stand At Dawn can listen live on their phones/devices.

District President of the Auckland RSAs Graham Gibson says: “We will be delighted if people stand together in their bubbles at home to pay tribute to our fallen as the sun comes up. We urge everyone to stay at home, away from the street and observe physical distancing.

“This Anzac Day will feel different but the sentiment will be the same. We are grateful to Auckland Council, Auckland War Memorial Museum and SkyCity for initiatives that we believe will inspire our young people to carry the torch into the future.

“I know Kiwis will wholeheartedly pay tribute to our men and women who served and sacrificed. From the New Zealand Wars in the 1800s to those who died in Afghanistan, we will remember them,” he says.

Find out more about Stand At Dawn

Teddies wear poppies this Anzac Day

Teddy bears in windows have become a beacon of unity in our neighbourhoods. For Anzac Day, Auckland Council is inviting families to make a poppy for their teddy bears to wear, or dress the window itself in something red.

In the week before and after Anzac Day, bear hunts will bring poignant new meaning. As whānau walk with children around the block and notice poppy-wearing teddies in neighbourhood windows, grown-ups can tell stories of family war-time heroes and convey the significance of this day for New Zealand.

To help explain what the red poppy means, here’s an excerpt from the RSA website: ‘The use of the red poppy – the Flanders’ Poppy – as a symbol of remembrance derives from the fact that the poppy was the first plant to re-emerge from the churned-up soil of soldiers’ graves during the First World War.’

Download a poppy-making stencil (1.2MB).

Share a photo of your Anzac bear in the window on Instagram: #AnzacBearAKL.

Landmarks light up to commemorate our heroes

It’s for our heroes – past and present.

Vector Lights will shine poppy-red on the east side of Auckland Harbour Bridge (city facing) from 7.30pm to midnight from Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 April to commemorate Anzac Day. Te Ara I Whiti – The Lightpath will also light up on those evenings.

Auckland War Memorial Museum will shine in a uniform display of red light from dusk on Friday 24 April until dawn on Sunday 26 April as a commemorative tribute to this important day.

And, all four landmarks – the east side of the bridge, Lightpath, museum and SkyTower – will light up in unison from 3am to 7am on Saturday 25 April, ushering in the dawn on Anzac Day.

It is hoped that our hard-working essential workers will be able to see them at dawn or in the evenings as they travel to hospitals, clinics and workplaces in the city.

Read the full story here.

Lay a digital poppy with Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira will commemorate Anzac Day in 2020, albeit in a different way.

The Dawn Service on the Cenotaph outside the museum and installation of the Fields of Remembrance will not take place. However, while closed to the public, The Last Post still plays daily prior to 5pm and the flags are raised at dawn and lowered at dusk.

The museum will also mark Anzac Day by lighting up in poppy red as a symbol of commemoration and remembrance from dusk on Friday 24 April until dawn on Sunday 26 April.

In absence of a physical gathering, the museum’s Online Cenotaph will be a place for people to come together, lay a virtual poppy and leave messages for loved ones who have served, as well as read stories about returned service people.

The museum's Commemorating Anzac Day at Home online hub has Anzac Day specific stories, an Anzac biscuit recipe, activities and videos for the whole family to enjoy for free.

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