Anzac Day Message 2017: The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO Governor-General of New Zealand

New Zealand, along with other nations, is currently in the fourth year of commemorations to mark the centenary of the First World War. Later in the year, there will be commemorations to mark the centenaries of two massive battles for our troops on the Western Front – at Messines and Passchendaele – as well as the Palestine campaign.

ANZAC ImageAnzac Day is a time to reflect also on New Zealand’s engagement in all conflicts – including the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War – and many peacekeeping missions around the world.

A legacy of our participation is the strength of bonds we have forged with other nations – both friend and foe.

It was at Gallipoli that a new respect developed between Australian and New Zealand troops.  Australian historian Charles Bean, referring to the first few days of the campaign, observed: “Three days of genuine trial had established a friendship which centuries will not destroy.”

It was fitting that the Australian Memorial was the first to be installed at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington. It was recently joined by a Turkish Memorial, and monuments honouring our wartime connections with France, Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the United States of America are scheduled for completion during this centenary period.

A hundred years after the momentous events of 1917, New Zealand society is much more diverse – over a quarter of New Zealand’s population today was born overseas. Our challenge is to ensure that the significance of this important national day is shared by all New Zealanders.

I am mindful that while we are fortunate to live in a time of relative peace, many people who have recently made New Zealand their new home have had first-hand experience of war and conflict.

My hope is that Anzac Day can be a time for all New Zealanders to come together, regardless of their age or background, to reflect on the impact of conflict on our communities and to affirm the civic traditions which we hold dear, along with our fervent hope for peace between nations.

Anzac Day will remain our special day to honour those who served their country. It is a time to honour the veterans among us in our communities, and the courageous men and women who serve in our Defence Force today.

New Zealand servicemen and women who are no longer with us would be proud to know their descendants come together to honour their memory.

Today we remember their commitment and sacrifice, and acknowledge the strong bonds forged between us in this act of solemn commemoration.

The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO
Governor-General of New Zealand