Anzac Day 2014 National Commemorative Service


Nau mai!    Haere mai     ki tēnei ra    maumahara ki ngā hōia

E kore ratou   e wareware hia   e tatou

Nō reira    tēnā koutou tēnā koutou tēnā koutou katoa

Greetings and welcome to this day of commemoration of our soldiers

We will always remember them

So therefore, greetings to you all.


We come together to mark the pain, sacrifice, and lives lost or maimed in  war, including, but not only, the First World War and the Gallipoli campaign.

I'd like to acknowledge the servicemen and women present today, serving and retired.

Your commitment to our country, and to people all over the world for peace, is something to be proud of. Indeed we are proud of you and grateful for your service.

Today is a day of remembrance. We remember the struggles of generations past, and we commemorate the enduring peace that many of us enjoy today

We must also acknowledge that some countries and people across the world do not enjoy the peace that we do, and we resolve our commitment to extend peace across all borders.

As the Capital City, Wellington has a special appreciation for Anzac Day and all it represents.  

We are home to the National War Memorial, the National Holocaust centre, the Fields of Remembrance launch in 2013 and next year the Memorial Park, Te Pukeahu will be completed.

Over 10,000 men represented the province of Wellington during the First World War, and many more from the lower North Island departed Aotearoa New Zealand for foreign shores.

For far too many, our beautiful Wellington harbour, the green hills that tower above our rugged South Coast would be the last time they would see our country.

For far too many, their lives would end on the rugged coast of the Gallipoli peninsula or muddy fields of Passchendaele. Or Messines. Or Sinai. Or any other place far too far from home.

The Wellington Infantry Battalion first saw action in the defence of Suez Canal. Later it joined the assault on Chunuk Bair in the Gallipoli campaign.

Following the evacuation of Gallipoli, a second Battalion was formed which gave rise to the Wellington Infantry Regiment.

A third Battalion was later added in 1917 and the regiment served the remainder of the war in France, Belgium and Germany.

The men of the Wellington Infantry Regiment wore their distinctive black and gold patches with great pride. They counted 2193 soldiers, friends and brothers among the terrible toll of war.

At home, people of actual or suspected German descent were treated with hostility. Conscientious objectors were subjected to physical deprivation and the loss of civil rights. Families, factories and farms felt the temporary or permanent loss of nearly twenty per cent of available manpower.

Out of the carnage in the Dardanelles, almost a hundred years ago, came a deep bond with Australia; a bond that we celebrate and appreciate to this day.

There are many Wellingtonians today who are not descended from Kiwis or Aussies of the early Twentieth Century but such was the reach of the First World War that many of us have ancestors who fought, objected, nursed or suffered in that time.

Today I proudly wear a bracelet identifying my grandfather, Arthur Basil Cowburn, in the 5th Border Regiment.

I also wear my great aunt Eva Musgrave's engagement ring. Her fiancé did not return from the Front. She never married.

I urge you to share your own family's stories this year.

Later, after our remembrances for lives cut short, our acknowledgment of suffering, our fervent wishes for peace, let us enjoy Anzac day 2014.

It is a time to reflect, and also a time to connect with those we love.

Tonight we can celebrate our trans-Tasman connections by watching the exhilarating AFL game between St Kilda’s Saints and Brisbane’s Lions at Westpac stadium, be nostalgic at the Anzac concert Songs from Times of War at the Wellington Opera House or spend precious time with friends and family.

Today let us be thankful that Matiu Somes is a wildlife sanctuary, not an internment camp.

Today let us be thankful that we count Australian, Turkish, Serbian, Austrian, German and people of so many more nationalities as our friends.

Today let us learn from the past and look to the future with hope, inspiration and confidence.