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ANZAC Day address

Embargoed to delivery on 25 April 2013 (approx. 11.30am)

Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO
Governor-General of New Zealand
ANZAC Day address
National War Memorial Wellington

25 April 2013

Ki a koutou katoa e hui tahi nei. Ngā hoia o ngā pakanga o mua, o tēnei wā hoki, a rātou whānau, a rātou hoa, me a rātou hoa pūmau hoia, ki te Ope Kaatua o Aotearoa, ka tuku mihi māhana ahau ki a koutou katoa, i tēnei rā whakamaumahara.

To everyone gathered here: to the veterans of past and present conflicts, and their families, friends and comrades-in-arms; to the New Zealand Defence Force personnel - I extend warm greetings to you all on this day of remembrance.

I specifically acknowledge: Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister; Andrew Little MP, representing the Leader of the Opposition; Your Excellency William Dihm, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Your Excellencies Michael Potts and Damla Yesim Say, the High Commissioner of Australia and Ambassador of Turkey; Maj Gen Tim Keating, Vice-Chief of the Defence Force; Lt Gen (Rtd) Don McIvor, President of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association; Your Worship Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington - tēnā koutou katoa.

It is a great honour for me and Janine to be here this morning.

At first light, we gathered to mark ANZAC Day. ANZAC Day begins here as the new day dawns. It continues wherever New Zealanders and Australians are gathered as the rising sun makes its way around the world.

Lives lost, friendships forged and deeds done: all is remembered as wreaths are laid, and the last post is played.

Lives lost: Ninety-eight years ago today, the men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - the ANZACs - went ashore at Gallipoli. Apparently it was a glorious morning.

In the days, weeks and months that followed, thousands upon thousands of New Zealand, Australian, Allied and Turkish lives were lost on the slopes of Anzac Cove, at Lone Pine and at Chunuk Bair, and elsewhere on the Gallipoli peninsula. Among the dead were 2,721 New Zealanders, about a quarter of those who had landed.

Those who died paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. Those sacrifices were repeated on the Western Front, and in Greece, North Africa, Italy, in the Pacific, and in the air over Europe and on the seas in the Second World War, and in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

That service continues to this day, in places as diverse as the Middle East and Sinai, Korea, the Solomon Islands, and South Sudan, where New Zealanders serve as peacekeepers.

Earlier this month, we travelled to Bamyan Province in Afghanistan to watch the New Zealand flag lowered for the last time and to unveil a memorial to the eight New Zealanders who lost their lives there. Their names, and those of the two New Zealanders who lost their lives in Kabul, have been added to our memorials and live on in our memories. Their families, friends and comrades grieve for them still.

Friendships forged: The Gallipoli campaign served to create an indelible bond between New Zealanders and Australians. On the beaches and in the trenches, we ate, slept and joked side-by-side, and we fought, died and wept side-by-side.

Then, as now, there were rivalries, and yet in the thick of battle, when all was at stake, it was the Australians we trusted before anyone else.

The unique bond of two nations sharing the same day of remembrance has created a spirit of mateship and shared sacrifice.

In the 98 years that have passed, we have served alongside each other in conflict zones around the world, and we have been there when the other has been afflicted by tragedies and natural disasters.

And then there is our respected one-time enemy, the Turks. On the ridges above what is now Anzac Cove there was mutual respect between the ANZACs and the Turks. In a temporary truce in May 1915 they looked each other in the eye, shook hands and swapped cigarettes and mementoes; and gathered and buried their dead.

The man who led the Turkish forces at Gallipoli and later led Turkey as its first President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in 1934 wrote a tribute to all the Allied soldiers who died at Gallipoli. He assured their grieving mothers that their sons were “now lying in our bosom and in peace…. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.” By reaching out in reconciliation and friendship to a former foe, Atatürk laid the foundation for the strong and enduring relationship our nations share to this day.

Deeds done: The New Zealanders who landed at Gallipoli fought bravely and with honour. They set the standard of courage, comradeship, commitment and integrity that the New Zealand Defence Force holds dear to this day.

The courage and integrity of men like Lt Colonel William Malone, a Taranaki farmer and lawyer, and the men who died with him on Chunuk Bair, is the stuff of legend. Those legendary men include Corporal Cyril Bassett, a bank clerk and later bank manager, whose courage and commitment won New Zealand’s first Victoria Cross of the war, for laying and maintaining a phone line on Chunuk Bair under continuous enemy fire.

From those New Zealanders who served and died at Gallipoli, to those who served and died in Afghanistan, they came to understand comradeship and the risks of service. Theirs is the proud tradition of ordinary New Zealand men and women who stepped forward to serve our country. They gave up the safety and security of home to oppose tyranny, to bring peace to troubled lands and defend the values of democracy and liberty that lie at the heart of being a New Zealand citizen.

On this day especially, we are conscious of the shared responsibilities of citizenship of all New Zealanders during times of war. This year marks 120 years since New Zealand women were able to share with men the fundamental right to vote in national elections.

In the First World War, with about 100,000 men away, women helped keep the farms and the factories and of course, the families of New Zealand going. Yet, hundreds of women went overseas as nurses and volunteer aids. Many lost their lives and many were honoured for their duty, courage and bravery.

That pattern was repeated in the Second World War and, in more recent times, New Zealand men and women have served alongside each other in all roles in the New Zealand Defence Force. And as service in Afghanistan has shown, they have also made the ultimate sacrifice together.

This year then marks the centenary of the last year of peace, before two global wars in two generations enveloped our world. With the centenary commemorations of the First World War beginning next year, there will be an emphasis on re-evaluating the ‘Great War’ as it is still often called – the war that was meant to end all wars - and its meaning for us today. As the Last Post is sounded, however, our pride in those men and women who have served New Zealand will remain undiminished. We will recall the supreme sacrifice they made. When we hear the notes of the Reveille we recommit ourselves to the solemn pledge to never forget their service, to always remember them and their legacy of a New Zealand society that is open, inclusive and tolerant.

Lest we forget—Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.


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