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Auckland remembers, honours fallen Anzacs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/04/2017 Angelo Risso

Where a military campaign failed and more than 2000 Kiwi men lost their lives, a nation's sense of self was born, attendees at Auckland's Anzac Day commemorations have heard.

Around 5000 people braved a crisp morning in the City of Sails on Tuesday to commemorate Anzac Day and the 102nd anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

A slightly smaller crowd, including young families, tourists and dignitaries, attended a mid-morning service later in the day.

At Auckland War Memorial Museum's dawn service, Mayor Phil Goff said the Gallipoli campaign may have failed to achieve its objectives but nevertheless imbued Kiwis with a new sense of statehood.

New Zealand sent more men to fight in the Great War per head of population than any other nation and 8556 served Anzac Cove alone - 2721 were killed and 4752 wounded.

"Those who left New Zealand to fight for King, for England and for empire, came home as New Zealanders," Mr Goff told the crowd.

The morning's service was commenced by a Maori incantation from Vietnam veteran Robert Newson, before prayers were conducted.

Hymns were then sung by the crowd, including students in school uniforms, before the sounding of the Last Post, the reciting of an ode of remembrance and the bugle call.

Mr Goff, after his address, saluted the Unknown Warrior by placing a cross in the museum's court of honour.

After the ceremony, Aucklanders lined up to place poppies on the cenotaph at the museum and to mingle with servicemen.

Later in the morning, Joint Forces New Zealand commander, Major General Tim Gall, gave an address explaining the evolution of the Kiwi armed forces into a smaller, professionalised unit.

Wreaths were laid in front of the cenotaph by a range of ambassadors, including Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna.

Across the entire four-year war, almost 100,000 Kiwis served in units overseas, just under 10 per cent of the country's population.

More than 18,000 died as a result, while 60,000 were wounded.

"Anzac Day does not glorify war - that is not what those who suffered and died for their country would have wanted," Mr Goff said.

"Today is a day of remembrance.

"Scarcely a community or family was left untouched by this tragedy."

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