ANZAC Day is a national day of commemoration observed on 25 April each year. It commemorates those who died serving New Zealand during war and it honours returned servicemen and women, past and present. 25 April marks the day in 1915 when Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed at Gallipoli in Turkey, the site of New Zealand’s first major battle of World War One with the loss of over 2,700 New Zealand soldiers.
The Anzac Day dawn service is a moving rite of passage for many kiwis. Every year, thousands of Kiwis and Australians – young and old – travel to Gallipoli.
Since the first commemorative services in 1916, ANZAC Day has evolved into the observance we know today, with Kiwis and Australians of all ages attending services and events across the world, from dawn until dusk.
In the afternoon we relax, spend time with our loved ones and if we are lucky, enjoy a day off work or school.
We honour the Anzac values of courage, compassion, camaraderie, and commitment and a time we depended on each other as brothers.
” Anzac stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship and endurance that will never own defeat…..”
“Australian and New Zealand soldiers were seen to have displayed great courage, endurance, initiative, and discipline….. life would not have been worth living if they had betrayed the idea of mate-ship….. the Anzac rejected unnecessary restriction possessed a sardonic sense of humour, was contemptuous of danger, and proved himself of the equal of anyone on the battlefield.
THE FIRST POPPY DAY
The first Poppy Day took place after one of Guerin’s representatives, Colonel Alfred Moffatt, suggested the poppy idea to the New Zealand Returned Soldiers’ Association (originally known as the Returned Services Association or RSA) in September 1921. The Returned Soldiers’ Association placed an order for 350 000 small and 16000 large silk poppies, all made by Madame Guerin’s French Children’s League.The Returned Soldier’s Association planned to hold its first Poppy Day appeal around the time of Armistice Day 1921 as other countries were doing.
The ship carrying the poppies from France arrived in New Zealand too late for the scheme to be properly publicised. The association decided to wait until the next ANZAC day 1922.
The poppies went on sale the day before ANZAC day. This first Poppy Day appeal was a huge success. Many centres sold out early in the day. In all, 245,059 small and 15157 large poppies were sold. Of the 13,166 pounds raised 3695 pounds went to the French Children’s League to help relieve suffering in the war-ravaged areas of northern France. The association used the remainder to assist needy, unemployed returned soldiers and their families; that tradition has continued.
The popularity of Poppy Day quickly grew. There were record collections during the Second World War by 1945.