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Prime Minister's message

As some organisers of Anzac Day events have indicated that they would like to read out a message from the Prime Minister or the Governor-General, here is the Anzac Day 2018 message from the Prime Minister.

This content of message is embargoed until 25 April 2018. It should not be republished or broadcast before that date.

The Governor-General's message is here.

The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister of New Zealand

Anzac Day Message 2018

 

100 years ago today, as New Zealanders gathered to remember the fallen, a peaceful Europe seemed a very far off hope indeed. And after more than three years of arduous conflict, our soldiers on the Western Front would have felt the distance between them and their loved ones back home more keenly than ever.                        

In 2018 we commemorate the experiences of all New Zealanders during that final and momentous year of the First World War.

By the end of 1918, our war losses approached 17,000.  The majority, more than 12,000 personnel, lost their lives on the Western Front from 1916 to 1918. This ever-increasing toll, and sustained hardships on the home front, created widespread disenchantment with the war effort.

A glimmer of hope appeared for New Zealand forces in the last week of the war, when our forces liberated the French town of Le Quesnoy during their last major offensive. This established an enduring connection with New Zealand and the liberation is anchored in the collective memory of people in both nations. Each year Le Quesnoy also takes time to remember our Anzacs.

On 11 November 1918 at 11am the darkness gave way as the declaration of an Armistice took effect. Celebrations were subdued in New Zealand as we suffered the ravages of the 1918 Influenza pandemic, and as our servicemen and women started to return home, it was to a country changed by the psychological, political and cultural legacy of the war.

Nearly every New Zealand community has its First World War story etched on its war memorial. Created to honour lost friends and loved ones, each stands as a constant reminder to the horror and futility of war. Equally, each gives us cause to reflect on what peace means to us as New Zealanders – now and into the future.

These centenary commemorations have helped us deepen our understanding of the First World War.  As we consider the service and sacrifices made, we also recognise the impact of these experiences in shaping our distinct national identity and our enduring commitment to peace, global security and international cooperation.

The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister of New Zealand

 


Updated on 9th April 2018