Our Wellington

News | 23 April 2021

Anzac Day: Honour, reflect, remember

Last year we commemorated Anzac Day apart. Thankfully this year, we can get together with events happening around our city on Sunday 25 April. What will you be doing this Anzac Day to commemorate those who lost their lives? Here's what's happening in the capital.

A birds eye view of soldiers and puppies on the road.

Attend a service

There will be a Dawn Service at 6am at the Pukeahu National War Memorial. At 9am, Wellington Citizens' Wreath Laying Service will go ahead at the Cenotaph. The National Anzac Day Service will take place at 11am at Pukeahu National War Memorial, and there will be a Wreath Laying Service at 2.30pm at Ataturk Memorial. You can view the list of services on the RSA website.

Check out our historical street names

From 2014 Wellington City Council recognised the history behind Wellington streets named for people, places and events from World War I. Eighteen street signs were erected between 2014-2019.

This was an initiative of Mayor Andy Foster, who undertook the research himself.

He says many of our streets were named after local World War I heroes and battles.

“Of a population of just over one million, 120,000 enlisted and 103,000 served overseas, 40,000 were wounded and over 18,000 died – 2,700 at Gallipoli and 12,500 on the Western Front. It is an extraordinary level of commitment and sacrifice that changed our country.

"We say we will remember them and the signs are a small recognition of that. We are all the richer for remembering their stories of valour and sacrifice.”

To view the locations of these streets, the stories and historic photographs you can go to our memorial street signs Story Map.

Anzac headstones in semi-circle lines at Karori Cemetery with sun shining over the hill.

Experience the ‘Warriors Walk’ at Karori Cemetery

Take your whānau on the ‘Warriors Walk’ at Karori Serviceman’s Cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1916 by the Wellington City Council, the first and largest such cemetery to be established in New Zealand.

Other local councils followed suit, setting aside specific areas so that each of the dead would be commemorated individually, the memorial would be permanent and uniform, and there would be no distinction made on the basis of military or civil rank, race or creed. Unlike other countries, interment is not restricted to those who died on active service but is open to all war veterans.

A programme of ongoing maintenance work at the Karori cemetery services area has gone well and the area looks much better than it did a few years ago.

Do the walk on foot, or virtually. 

Friends of Karori cemetery talks

On Anzac Day the Friends of Karori Cemetery are presenting two talks in the oldest part of the Services area at Karori. These will cover the history and development of the dedicated area, the role of the National Women's Reserve, the impact the 1918 influenza epidemic had on its expansion, and of course stories of some of the men buried who had served at Gallipoli. The talks are scheduled for 1.30 and 3.30pm and are free public events with an optional gold coin donation to the Friends. More information is on the Facebook event.

Visit the Wrights Hill Fortress

Wellington’s historic Wrights Hill Fortress in Karori is open for public inspection again on Anzac Day. The World War Two coastal battery first opened to the public in 1989 and will be accessible between 10am-4pm. Visitors will be able to explore the 620 metres of underground tunnels with a free map and history pamphlet. They will see the engine room, shell stores, plotting rooms and the huge gun pit where Gun Number 1 used to stand, as well as a replica of the 10 metre-long gun barrel. Open Days - Wrights Hill Fortress

Special tour of Gallipoli Exhibition at Te Papa

For a limited time, you can do a special tour of the Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War. The Gallipoli Tour runs 22-26 April.

The exhibition tells the story of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I through the eyes and words of eight ordinary New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances.