New Zealand commemorates Anzac Day

·3-min read

Jacinda Ardern has used an Anzac Day address to underscore the value of New Zealand's contribution in Ukraine.

Kiwis observed the day in typically stoic fashion but for the third straight year, COVID-19 curbed some of the RSA's plans to commemorate.

While dawn services were staged across New Zealand, parades were not held in 2022.

Governor general Dame Cindy Kiro went to the dawn service at Wellington's Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

The prime minister attended a dawn service at Auckland's War Memorial Museum, which had a capped capacity due to the pandemic, alongside opposition leader Chris Luxon.

More than 30,000 New Zealand military personnel have been killed in wars and conflicts since 1915, the year of the doomed Gallipoli landing.

Later on Monday morning, Ms Ardern told her local commemoration at Mt Albert, an inner suburb of Auckland, the Russian invasion was "a most grim reminder of the fragile nature of peace, and the devastating impact of war on people's lives".

"In New Zealand we may feel a great distance from this conflict, but we are all inextricably linked to what it represents," she said.

"New Zealand has a fiercely independent foreign policy, but that has never ever meant that we sit on the side-lines.

"It means that when we see injustice, and a threat to the peace and stability we all long for, we act.

"The invasion of Ukraine is a senseless act of war, one that is taking the lives of innocent people.

"It is a threat to the international laws that a nation like ours relies on - but it is also a threat to our sense of humanity. And that makes it a threat to all of us.

"That is why, once again as conflict rages on the other side of the world, New Zealand is present ... we must all do our part."

New Zealanders are not actually stationed in Ukraine, with defence force personnel to be based in Germany providing logistical support to stop Russia's invasion.

The government has also provided military support, including funding for lethal weapons, humanitarian aid, and a range of sanctions.

Hundreds of New Zealanders will be commemorating offshore for the course of their service.

For the first time since COVID-19, New Zealand has an official presence at the Gallipoli service in Turkey, with veterans affairs minister Meka Whaitiri leading a delegation.

A contingent based on the Sinai Peninsula is marking 40 years of New Zealand's contribution to peacekeeping on the Egypt-Israel border.

NZ's biggest overseas group to commemorate were 165 navy personnel with the HMNZS Te Mana in Canada as the ship receives an upgrade.

Most recently, the New Zealand defence force's biggest undertaking has been at home, assisting during COVID-19.

Over 6000 personnel have been utilised at border facilities, including quarantine hotels, in a mammoth effort to prevent the virus seeping into the community.

Those workers are being gradually moved back into regular roles.

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