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Awareness of Anzac Day heartening: PM

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/04/2017

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 25:  Members of the crowd look on during Anzac Day dawn service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on April 25, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. In 1916 the first Anzac Day commemorations were held on 25 April. It's been 101 years since the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC) landed on the shores of Gallipoli  during World War 1. Anzac day is a national holiday in New Zealand, marked by a dawn service held during the time of the original Gallipoli landing and commemorated with ceremonies and parades throughout the day.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images) © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images/Getty Images WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 25: Members of the crowd look on during Anzac Day dawn service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on April 25, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. In 1916 the first Anzac Day commemorations were held on 25 April. It's been 101 years since the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC) landed on the shores of Gallipoli during World War 1. Anzac day is a national holiday in New Zealand, marked by a dawn service held during the time of the original Gallipoli landing and commemorated with ceremonies and parades throughout the day. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images) Prime Minister Bill English is heartened by the number of young people attending Anzac Day services, and says they are more aware of the significance than his generation.

Mr English attended the dawn service at Wellington's Pukeahu National War Memorial on Tuesday.

It was his first Anzac Day as prime minister and came after he visited battle sites on the former Western Front in Europe earlier this year.

"What struck me was the familiarity of the landscape. It looks like New Zealand," he told TVNZ.

"And that really brought home to me the huge losses that were faced, particularly by a small community.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 25:  A general view of the National War Memorial Carillon during Anzac Day dawn service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on April 25, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. In 1916 the first Anzac Day commemorations were held on 25 April. It's been 101 years since the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC) landed on the shores of Gallipoli  during World War 1. Anzac day is a national holiday in New Zealand, marked by a dawn service held during the time of the original Gallipoli landing and commemorated with ceremonies and parades throughout the day.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images) © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images/Getty Images WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 25: A general view of the National War Memorial Carillon during Anzac Day dawn service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on April 25, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. In 1916 the first Anzac Day commemorations were held on 25 April. It's been 101 years since the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC) landed on the shores of Gallipoli during World War 1. Anzac day is a national holiday in New Zealand, marked by a dawn service held during the time of the original Gallipoli landing and commemorated with ceremonies and parades throughout the day. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images) "It made me understand, I suppose, what it was like for young New Zealanders to turn up in a place that turned out to be a hell hole where so many of their comrades were lost. And that's why we gather here today."

Mr English went to dawn services as a child, but he was struck by the number of people in their teens and 20s turning up now.

"Young people today I think understand Anzac Day. They are taught it better, they know it better than my generation did 30-40 years ago."

New Zealand forces are deployed in 14 operations around the world and in many places were serving alongside Australians, just as at Gallipoli in 1915.

"I think it's important we remind ourselves that this is ongoing," Mr English said.

"We shouldn't take it for granted that because we fought together 100 years ago that everybody is going to remember that."

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