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Tens Of Thousands Attend Anzac Dawn Services

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tens Of Thousands Attend Anzac Dawn Services

Auckland, April 25 NZPA - Tens of thousands of people have turned out at dawn services across the country to remember fallen New Zealand servicemen and women to mark Anzac Day.

Good weather prompted record crowds in some centres to remember the 95th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli in Turkey.

About 10,000 were outside Auckland War Memorial Museum at the biggest service in the country's largest city.

The commemorations in Auckland were marked by the beginning of what is set to be a much larger element marking the contribution of New Zealand's Anzac partners.

The choir sang Advance Australia Fair, the national anthem of Australia, and it is expected to be sung at all future Auckland services.

The New Zealand Transport Agency also flew the Australian flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge after a decision by the Government following a request from a member of the public.

It is one of only two days when flags other than the New Zealand flag fly on the bridge, the other day being Waitangi Day when the "tino rangatiratanga" flag flies.

Auckland Mayor John Banks told the service the Gallipoli campaign caused profound misery and palpable grief to New Zealanders and Australians.

"Our casualties were enormous. Everyone knew someone who would never return."

Mr Banks said the services also remembered New Zealanders who lost their lives in other battles such as the Somme, Messines and Passchendaele.

"We do not seek to glorify war. Rather, we are here to honour and reflect on the service that so many men and women gave to our country.

"As the sun rises this morning, we turn our eyes to the glory that surrounds the memory for those who died for this nation in the honourable pursuit of peace."

In Wellington, an estimated 3000 people attended the ceremony at the capital's cenotaph, where Army chief Major General Rhys Jones said Anzac Day was not a celebration.

"It's not a commemoration of victories that gained independence for our country or a great battle that established our name on the international arena," he said.

"Anzac Day is a time to remember and reflect on the sorrow, loss and sacrifice that is the obligation of nationhood, the cost of liberty and the price of freedom."

Maj Gen Jones said the cost of freedom was constant vigilance.

Thousands attended services at other towns and cities throughout the country.

Prime Minister John Key and Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae are both at Gallipoli, where they attended the Turkish International Service last night.

Mr Key will attend the Anzac dawn service at Gallipoli this morning Turkish time (3.30pm NZT).

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