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Emotional return to Gallipoli for Anzac Day services

As dawn broke across the Gallipoli peninsula on Anzac Day, the solemn chorus of the karanga - call to gathering - once again rippled across the Gallipoli peninsula.

25 April, 2022

Following a three-year absence due to the pandemic, Anzac Day services in Turkey recommenced in a series of moving and emotional services on Monday April 25.

On a clear and still morning, the Dawn Service took place at the Anzac Commemorative site, with around 500 New Zealanders, Australian, Turkish and other nationalities in attendance.

Master of Ceremonies Lieutenant Colonel Sheree Alexander, from the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment based in Linton, opened the service as members of both the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and Australia’s Federation Guard mounted the catafalque party.  

Chief of the New Zealand Army Major General John Boswell read the call to remembrance as the sun rose over the calm seas that acted as a backdrop to an emotional and moving service.

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Minister for Veterans Meka Whaitiri delivered a commemorative address where she spoke of how the events of the 25th April 1915 were an unparalleled human disaster for New Zealand and touched every corner of the country.

She highlighted the tragedy of those who fought in the Māori Contingent - 36 of whom are buried or commemorated on the peninsula.

“They were ordinary men doing extraordinary things,” she said.

“In my role as Minister for Veterans, I am all too aware how the cruelties and tragedies of war linger on, long after the wars themselves come to an end.”

She acknowledged the generosity of the Turkish Government and its people for maintaining the memorials and helping support commemorations to take place in a safe and respectful way.

NZDF Chaplain Class 2 Dave Lacey delivered a prayer of commemoration before officials laid wreaths in remembrance.

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The Dawn Service in Gallipoli

Sergeant Major of the New Zealand Army Warrant Officer Class One Wiremu Moffitt DSD read the Ode of Remembrance in Te Reo Māori while his counterpart in the Australian Defence Force, Warrant Officer Ivan Petrovic, delivered the ode in English.

A rousing delivery of the Last Post was played by Corporal Raynor Martin from the New Zealand Army Band before the Turkish, New Zealand and Australian national anthems were performed.

Following the Dawn Service, a New Zealand service was held at Chunuk Bair to honour one of the bloodiest battles of the Gallipoli campaign.

Major General Boswell delivered a reading focusing on the burden of command, where he spoke of his deep respect for all those that fought on the hill where the commemoration service was held.

"I am particularly struck by the inspiring leadership shown by officers and non-commissioned officers throughout this bitter battle and indeed the entire campaign. It is a burden few of us can appreciate," he said.

"It is a burden few of us can appreciate."

The New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli - in the centre of the image you can see the memorial with the NZ flag to the left and the Turkey flag on the right. It's a sunny day with blue sky.

The New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli

The New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli.

The New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli.

The New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli. NZDF personnel perform the NZDF haka - the faces show them yelling/screaming with passion as they speak the words.

The New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli. NZDF personnel perform the NZDF haka

Official speeches were supported by performances by members of the NZ Army band and Māori Cultural Group, while Australian and Turkish military personnel also conducted ceremonial duties during the service.

NZDF Person of the Year, Corporal Nori Lee, delivered a reading detailing the experiences of a young Ngāti Porou sheep farmer from Gisborne, Private Don Ferris, from the Māori Contingent who died in front of his brother while serving at Gallipoli.

“The men were told that only those who wanted to would be sent to Gallipoli. Every man volunteered.”~ Corporal Nori Lee

“Don and his men had no illusions whatsoever about what this meant. From Malta he wrote: “This may be my last letter home, as we are on the verge of moving off into the firing line”.”

The commemoration concluded with a poignant rendition of Pō Atarau (Now Is The Hour) and an emotional and passionate display of the NZDF haka, He Taua.