Anzac Day commemorations at your doorstep

6:29 pm on 19 April 2020

People are encouraged to join virtual commemorations on Anzac Day as Covid-19 lockdown continues in the country.

Dawn service at the ANZAC Commemorative Site in Gallipoli. 2018 marks the centenerary of New Zealanders returning to Gallipoli to pay their respects to their fallen for the first time.

The dawn service at the Anzac Commemorative Site in Gallipoli in 2018. Photo: NZDF

Initiated by the New Zealand Defence Force and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, the Stand At Dawn campaign calls for New Zealanders worldwide to take a moment to remember fallen servicemen.

People can join at 6am on 25 April by standing at their letterbox, front door, lounge rooms or other places while staying within their bubble.

They can tune into RNZ National, listen live on the internet for the official dawn service broadcast commencing at 6am.

Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short said Anzac Day was an important day of commemoration for many New Zealanders, particularly for serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

"Anzac Day is a day for remembering service and sacrifice in conflict, and the strength that comes from working together to overcome adversity," he said.

"This year, more than ever, we need to draw on the many qualities that the enduring Anzac spirit has taught us; mateship, endurance, good humour, ingenuity and courage."

He encouraged veterans, service personnel, families and the wider public to engage with the Stand at Dawn campaign.

RNZRSA national president BJ Clark said Anzac Day was one of the most important national occasions for New Zealanders and Australians.

"Even though public Anzac services are unable to go ahead, it does not mean that the tradition of remembering and commemorating our veterans and service personnel should be cancelled too."

Families can share photos of decorated letterboxes or front windows, Anzac biscuit baking, creating poppy wreaths or completing activity and colouring in sheets provided.

It is also hoped that people use this time to research their family's military history and share stories of those who have served.

Along with standing at dawn to observe a minute's silence, recordings of The Ode of Remembrance, the national anthems, and a bugler playing The Last Post/Reveille will be made available.

People can share their photos on social media by tagging the Defence Force.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Anzac commemorations will have to be done differently this year with Anzac Day being commemorated under lockdown or still highly restrictive level three conditions and all services cancelled around the country.

Ardern said nothing will be the same about Anzac Day this year.

"Actually I hope that we will see even more participate in their own way because of it, I do think it will have a different feeling."

Ardern said she will announce later this week how her and the government will commemorate Anzac Day.

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