Anzac Day Message 2017: The Rt Hon Bill English Prime Minister of New Zealand

It is now over a century since the ANZAC troops arrived at Gallipoli on the morning of 25 April 1915. Though time moves on, we will never forget the campaign that took the lives of nearly 2,800 brave New Zealanders who had travelled far from home to serve their country.


Today we join in paying our respects to those first arrivals and to all the New Zealanders who served at Gallipoli. We remember also our fellow Anzacs the Australian troops, and all who fought on both sides of the campaign. Through the broad lens of time we can see that our foes were men just like ours, resisting as anyone would the invasion of their homeland, and incurring losses nearly double those of all the Allies combined.

This year marks a number of First World War centenaries: the Battle of Messines, the war in Sinai/Palestine, and New Zealand’s darkest day, the Battle of Passchendaele. It also marks the 75thanniversary of the Second Battle of El Alamein. As these anniversaries approach, we are reminded that Anzac Day has evolved over the years, becoming a day of wider remembrance, a time to reflect on our full military history and all New Zealanders who have served their country.

It is also a time to acknowledge the men and women of today’s New Zealand Defence Force who put themselves at risk in the world’s conflict zones, furthering this nation’s commitment to international peace, security and co-operation. Today we pause and give thanks to them for their service and their sacrifice, and that of their families.

Anzac Day brings us together, in New Zealand, in Turkey, in Australia and in many countries around the world, to honour all New Zealanders who have continued to serve in the fine tradition of courage and compassion demonstrated by the Anzacs at Gallipoli.

We cannot give back lost lives, or wholeness of body or spirit. But we can ensure their service is never forgotten. This is, and will always be, their day.

The Rt Hon Bill English
Prime Minister of New Zealand