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Governor-General's speech at National Service

Rere ana nga roimata o Hine

Tērā te pae o Te Riri.

Huihuia mai tātau katoa

Tēnei te pae o Maumahara.

E nga iwi, kei aku rangatira

Wahine ma, tāne mā

Tēnā tātau katoa.

The tears of Hine(rangi) flow

For those lost in battle.

We gather here today

In this place of Remembrance.

To all people, to our leaders

Women and men,

My greetings to you all.

I acknowledge The Honourable Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance, and Rino Tirikatene, MP, representing the Government

Her Exellency The Honourable Patricia Forsythe, High Commissioner of Australia

His Excellency Mr Ahmet Ergin, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

The Honourable Maggie Barry, representing the Opposition

His Worship Justin Lester, Mayor of Wellington

The Mayors of Arras, Longueville, Flers and Le Quesnoy

Air Marshal Kevin Short, Chief of Defence Force, and Sherryll Short

Bernadette Cavanagh, Chief Executive, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

David Ledson, Chair of the National War Memorial Advisory Council;

BJ Clark, President, Royal New Zealand Returned and Service Association;

Taranaki Whanui and


It’s an honour to welcome you today to the Anzac Day National Service and to acknowledge New Zealanders of all ages who are gathering across our nation to pay tribute to our servicemen and servicewomen.

I extend a special welcome to the veterans and their families gathered here at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

I begin by taking a moment to reflect on the devastating terrorist attack against our Muslim community.

Six weeks on, the effects continue to reverberate throughout New Zealand.

In the aftermath, we’ve asked ourselves how such a hateful act could be perpetrated here.

It’s a question that has provoked much soul-searching amongst New Zealanders.

If the Christchurch attack was intended to sow hate and disunity, it failed. Instead, it has brought us closer together – and in that community, we have found renewed strength.

Anzac Day has been bringing New Zealanders together since 1916. In that time, we have found strength in joining others in commemorating the sacrifices of fellow New Zealanders in times of conflict in our nation’s history.

One hundred years ago, following the unprecedented chaos and destruction of the First World War, New Zealand service personnel were returning home from the battle-scarred fields of Europe and other theatres of war, including Egypt and Palestine.

There were joyful celebrations in many cities and towns. People were elated to see their spouses, parents, children or friends after years of uncertainty and dread.

Life continued on, but for many veterans, nothing could ever be the same. Returning home from war was not as simple as picking up where they had left off with their jobs, families and communities.

Many soldiers were physically wounded, and the invisible wounds were often just as damaging.

Psychology was still in its infancy in 1919. Many soldiers grappled with undiagnosed mental illness and post-traumatic stress, and struggled to communicate their suffering to their loved ones.

Their suffering was often seen as a sign of emotional weakness and dismissed as shell shock. But for many, those psychological wounds never healed. They impacted on the sufferers’ families, and their effects were felt down through the generations.

Anzac Day may have its roots in the First World War, but it encompasses all conflicts that have impacted on the lives of New Zealanders.

To all the veterans here today, and around New Zealand – we acknowledge your service and thank you for your commitment and your courage.

We acknowledge the challenges that some of you have faced in returning to civilian life.

We acknowledge, with gratitude, the women and men who are currently serving in the New Zealand Defence Force. New Zealand’s commitment to help uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights is a cornerstone of our engagement with the world, and is admired by the international community.

As in many nations, our history has been shaped by dark and disruptive events, but we’ve also been shaped by our responses to those challenges, when the values that we cherish are tested and come sharply into focus.

We live in a New Zealand that is so much more diverse than it was one hundred years ago. Our diversity is a source of strength, and in the face of violence and hatred, we resolve not to be divided.

As we acknowledge the brave service of our veterans and current service men and women, we owe it to future generations to pledge our commitment to foster peace and unity in our communities, and to stand up to hate and fear.

In this way we honour the legacy of service, bravery and comradeship that our forebears have passed down to us.

Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou

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