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Dawn Service at Gallipoli Marks 'Defining Page' in Shared History

Lest we Forget

25 April 2016

In cool and showery conditions over 1,200 people attended the Dawn Service at the Anzac Commemorative Site at North Beach on the Gallipoli peninsula today, celebrating the 101st anniversary of the ANZAC landings (the 100th Anzac Day).

The New Zealand Government was represented by Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee, and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) by the Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Tony Davies.

Delivering the Call to Remembrance at the beginning of the service, AVM Davies said the Gallipoli landings gave New Zealand and Australia a defining page in their histories.

"The achievements of the Anzacs who came ashore here and held these ridges for eight months, in awful and trying conditions, are rightly to be honoured, their endeavours remembered," he said.

"The shock of the first true experience of war was for some almost overwhelming, giving rise to feelings of guilt, grief and loss that for many would last the rest of their lives."

A varied Reflective Programme centred on explaining various aspects of the Gallipoli campaign, with a number of musical contributions from a combined NZDF/Australian Defence Force (ADF) band, presented from 8pm through to 5am, kept the crowd engaged, although most managed to get some sleep at some point during the night.

The Reflective Programme included the winning speech of the annual ANZ/RNZRSA Cyril Bassett VC prize. The prize is awarded in honour of the only New Zealander to receive the supreme gallantry award, the Victoria Cross, during the Gallipoli campaign. This year's winner was Stephanie Simpson of Marlborough Girls' College.

Katanga, the Maori Call to Gathering, performed by the women of the NZDF, set the scene for the service, which began at 5.30am.

Both Mr Brownlee and Australian Minister for Veterans' Affairs Dan Tehan gave addresses and laid wreaths during the ceremony.

Flight Sergeant Kathleen Nikau, leader of the NZDF contingent's Maori Cultural Group, represented the NZDF in laying a wreath on behalf of military veterans.

Members of the public were also able to lay wreaths at the conclusion of the service.

The New Zealand Service at Chunuk Bair, to begin at 11.30am, is expected to be at full capacity for the site.

ENDS

IMAGERY: Pictures from the service are available from an Australian Defence Force drop box accessed through the ADF website: defence.gov.au 

For more information please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980

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