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First World War centenary military commemoration dates announced

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Dates for key New Zealand domestic and overseas commemorative and ceremonial events which will be be marked during the First World War centenary from 2014 to 2018 have been announced by Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson.

"The ceremonial programme has been designed to allow New Zealanders living at home and overseas to commemorate those aspects of the First World War that are important to their families", Mr Finlayson said.

The commemorations and ceremonial events in New Zealand will be important to New Zealanders’ connection to, and reflection on, the events and impacts of the First World War.

"All these military commemorations have significance to New Zealand and reflect important moments for us as New Zealanders during the commemoration of the First World War," he said. "They also reflect important historical relationships with Australia, Turkey, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, and other First World War allies."

The major national commemorations to be held in New Zealand are:

Date - Commemoration - Location

25 April 2015 - Anzac landings in Gallipoli - National War Memorial

15 September 2016 - War in France - National War Memorial

12 October 2017 - War in Belgium - National War Memorial

October/November 2017 - War in Sinai/Palestine - National War Memorial

11 November 2018 - Armistice - National War Memorial

The New Zealand national commemorations to be held overseas are:

Date - Commemoration - Location

25 April 2015 - Anzac landings at Gallipoli - Turkey

15 September 2016 - Battle of the Somme - France

7 June 2017 - Battle of Messines - Belgium

12 October 2017 - Battle of Passchendaele - Belgium

31 October 2017 - Battle of Beersheba - Israel

4 November 2018 - Liberation of Le Quesnoy - France

These commemorations emphasise the campaigns on the Western Front where over 80% of New Zealand casualties were suffered.

New Zealand will also be involved in a range of other commemorations including those marking the outbreak of war, the capture of German Samoa and the departure of the Anzac convoys from Albany in Western Australia. It is expected that New Zealand will be officially represented at other nations’ centenary ceremonies and other centennial events.

"These dates will provide key focal points for the commemoration of the First World War," Mr Finlayson said. "New Zealand’s programme to mark the centenary of the war, WW100, includes a range of other commemorative and related events that will leverage off these key military commemorations, including those that explore social and other non-military impacts of the war."

One person in ten of New Zealand’s then population of 1,000,000 served overseas during the First World War, of whom more than 18,000 died and over 40,000 were wounded.

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