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91st Armistice Commemorations

Armistice Day parade and commemorative service at the National War Memorial Wellington. His Excellency the Honourable Sir Anand Satyandand GNZM, QSO Governer General of New Zealand gives a reading.
His Excellency the Honourable Anand Satyanand, Governor General of New Zealand gives a reading at the Armistice Day commemorative service at the National War Memorial Wellington. (OH09-0698-003)

11 November 2009

At 1100 hours on 11 November 2009 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel joined politicians, the Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and Lady Satyanand, diplomatic representatives from around the world, veterans and local school children in a moving ceremony to commemorate the 91st anniversary of the end of first World War at the National War Memorial in Wellington.

1100 on 11 November 1918 marked the moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front, and since then the 'eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month' became universally associated with remembering those who had died in the First World War.

The First World War (1914 to 1918) is considered one of the most disastrous events in human history. New Zealand, with a population of 1.1 million in 1914, sent 100,000 men and women abroad. 16,700 died and over 40,000 were wounded – a higher per capita casualty rate than any other country involved. 

Delivering the prologue at the ceremony, former Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Ledson talked about New Zealand’s debt to its citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice – on sea, land and air – during World War 1.

His Excellency the Governor-General and Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Wood both delivered poignant oral history readings, reminding the audience of the harsh realities and real costs of war. 

A bugler sounded the Last Post and Reveille, and the RSA’s AVM (rtd) Robin Klitscher delivered the Ode in English and Warrant Officer Gerald Twomey delivered it in Maori. Several wreaths were laid by distinguished guests and all present were invited to place a poppy on the tomb of the unknown warrior as they departed the Buckle street ceremony. Other participants from the NZDF included members of the Central Band of the Royal New Zealand Air Firce and a Tri-Service guard of Honour.

New Zealand’s only Victoria Cross recipient at Gallipoli, Cyril Bassett VC was also honoured this Armistice Day, with the launch of a speech competition for Year 11 and 12 students at Defence House in Wellington.

To be known as the 'National Bank RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition’ it asks students to pay tribute to the men and women who made sacrifices and in some cases, died, serving New Zealand. The winner will attend 2010 Anzac commemorations at Gallipoli. For more information go to www.rsa.org.nz.

Visit the Armistice Day Image Gallery

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