On Monday 25 April, thousands of Aucklanders will honour those we’ve lost by attending one of more than 70 Anzac Day services across the region.
On the 100th year of commemorations in New Zealand, OurAuckland looks at how Anzac Day has changed during the last century.
- First Anniversary commemorations in Auckland began with a procession along Queen Street to the Town Hall, followed by a traditional ceremony and finished with a concert and dinner for returned servicemen and women.
- Anzac services in New Zealand were held in the afternoon rather than the morning.
- Public war memorials were erected across the country, and began to take the place of town halls or churches for Anzac ceremonies. Increasingly, Returned and Services Association (RSA) leaders, servicemen and local politicians led the speeches during services, rather than clergymen.
- Services became less like a mournful funeral, and uniformed members of the armed forces joined returned servicemen in marches across the country. The laying of wreaths also became a crucial part of the ceremonial proceedings.
- With the outbreak of war in 1939, commemorations focused on the current war and public interest in the day grew. This was also the year of the first official Dawn Service in New Zealand.
- Anzac Day now commemorated all wars in which New Zealanders had taken part.
- Citizens' service was moved to mid-morning, and the Dawn Service grew in popularity.
- More people began to attend Anzac services. At the 1957 Dawn Service in Auckland, 6000 people were in attendance.
- Anzac gatherings became a platform for anti-war and minority group protest movements.
- Auckland hosted the last national reunion of NZ Gallipoli veterans at Auckland War Memorial Museum on Anzac Day 1975. With the deeply unpopular Vietnam War in its final week, attendance was very low compared to what we see today.
- Anzac Day became part of a distinct national identity in New Zealand, and more young people began attending Anzac services.
- Ceremonial rituals remained largely the same as they had since the 1930s, with RSA leaders, politicians and local dignitaries continuing to lead the annual commemorations.
- Bright Williams, the last WW1 NZ veteran, passed away in 2003. The number of Second World War veterans becomes fewer each year.
- Today, a large proportion of Anzac Day crowds is made up of families and young New Zealanders. Some wear the war medals of their grandparents and great-grandparents to the ceremonies, and do so with great pride.
To find out more about the history of Anzac Day, visit the NZ History website or browse through the online collections from Auckland War Memorial Museum.
This Anzac Day, on the 100th year of commemorations, take the time to remember those we have lost and reflect on how their sacrifice has shaped our nation.