25 April is Anzac Day, the day we remember people who have served in the armed forces for New Zealand. ANZAC means Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.

At dawn on 25 April 1915 New Zealand and Australian soldiers landed on the beaches at Gallipoli in Turkey. The Turkish army defended the area and the fighting lasted for 8 months. In total, 2779 New Zealand soldiers died, along with more than 8700 Australians. Thousands more were injured.

The first Anzac Day memorial service was held in 1916 and it became an official public holiday in 1920. It is now an important day to remember the soldiers who fought in World Wars One and Two, and in other wars since.

On Anzac Day there are dawn services in cities and towns around the country. Former and current service men and women march to their local war memorial, where they are joined by the public. The short service includes prayers, songs, and a minute’s silence to remember those who died. Later in the day there are other services where people give speeches and lay wreaths at war memorials. These services have become very popular in recent decades, with thousands of people attending them. This may be because they want to remember family members who were involved in a war. Another reason may be that people are grateful for what others did during war and want to honour them. Everyone wants to share their sorrow at the loss of life in war and hope for peace.

In New Zealand people wear red poppies before and on Anzac Day, whereas in other countries they wear them on Remembrance Day, 11 November. Poppies are used for fundraising for the RSA (Returned and Services Association) who support former and current service men and women and their families.

Listen to Anzac Day 2015 for more information about this day, or type Anzac in the search box to hear other posts.


Corps – a special group of soldiers

sorrow – a feeling of great sadness

dawn – the time when light first appears at the beginning of the day

wreath – a circle made of leaves and flowers (see image below)

fundraising – collecting money for a specific purpose


red poppy

Anzac poppy, late 2000s, New Zealand, by Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association. Gift of an anonymous donor, 2011. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (GH021294) Image from Te Papa

A former serviceman and a current serviceman at a wreath-laying service in Hamilton, 2010. Image from Te Ara