Stand apart together this Anzac Day

18 April 2020

In response to Covid-19, there will be no public events to commemorate Anzac Day this Saturday 25 April – instead the nation will mark the anniversary by standing together apart with virtual services and online events.

ANZAC Day ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

This year's Anzac Day will start with a virtual dawn service, where New Zealanders are being asked to stand in their bubble to commemorate those who have served their country – whether that be in a living room, the driveway, or at the front door.

The most important thing about Anzac Day is the tradition of remembering, says Mayor Andy Foster.

“For the first time since services began in 1916, nationwide events to remember and honour New Zealanders in conflict and peacekeeping won’t be held in a public forum – it will be more of a private affair this year.

“Just by standing and remembering, we can honour the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made – and still make – as they do their duty and serve New Zealand. Stay home, stay safe.”

The official dawn service starts at 6am on Saturday 25 April. It will be broadcast on Radio NZ National (AM & FM frequencies)listen live on the internet or on your phone (download app here). The morning service includes the Last Post, National Anthems, and an address by Hon. Ron Mark, Minister of Defence / Minister for Veterans.

There will also be a special Anzac Day programme at 11am on TVNZ 1 or TVNZ On Demand.

The poppy will be at the heart of New Zealand community responses, as Kiwis are also being encouraged to acknowledge Anzac Day with a show of support in the form of poppy displays on letterboxes or in windows.

Gisella Carr, Manager of Arts, Culture & Community Services says New Zealanders in their thousands choose each year to find meaning in Anzac Day, and households may want to think about how to do this from their bubbles.

“You can make poppies at home and display them for your community, lay a virtual poppy at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, or take a moment to read the WWI poem which made the poppy famous, ‘In Flanders Field’ by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.”

“Other Anzac Day experiences will include the live-stream of Neil Ieremia’s Passchendale, a collaboration of the Royal New Zealand Ballet with the New Zealand Army Band, commissioned for the Gallipoli Centenary 2015. We will also be lighting the Michael Fowler Centre red to honour Anzac Day

“And of course in a city famous for its foodie culture, Wellingtonians may also want to bake Anzac biscuits with their whanau.” 

The gates to Karori and Makara Cemetery will remain closed for the duration, so there will only be pedestrian access. We understand this may be upsetting for some, but this is in response to large numbers driving to and gathering at the cemeteries, breaching current Covid-19 alert level guidelines.