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Anzac Day

Anzac Day commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and honours our returned servicemen and women. In 2021, we're encouraging New Zealanders to mark Anzac Day in a safe and meaningful way.

Official Anzac Day events in Wellington

6am

Dawn Service

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

9am

Wellington Citizens Wreath-Laying Service

Cenotaph Precinct, corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen Street

11am

National Commemoration Service

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

2.30pm

Atatürk Memorial Service

Atatürk Memorial, Bowes Crescent, Strathmore

If attending these ceremonies, please follow all relevant COVID-19 guidelines.

Both the 6am Dawn Service in Wellington and the 11am National Commemorative Service will be televised live on TVNZ. Māori TV will also be providing live coverage of the 6am Dawn Service in Auckland.

Anzac Day 2021 resources

Road Closures and Parking Restrictions on Anzac Day

  • Tasman Street, Mt Cook (between Tory Street and Rugby Street):  No through traffic from 3.00am to 2.00pm
  • Tory Street, Mt Cook (between Tasman Street and Haining Street):  No through traffic from 3.00am to 2.00pm
  • Rugby Street, Mt Cook (between Tasman Street and Sussex Street):  Restricted parking from 3.00am to 2.00pm
  • Haining Street/Frederick St/Martin Square: Detours in place from 3.00am to 2.00pm
  • Martin Square, south side: Restricted parking from 3.00am to 2.00pm
  • Lambton Quay northbound, between Bowen Street and Bunny Street: no through traffic except buses from 5.00am to 12.00pm (no left turn from Bowen Street onto Lambton Quay).
  • For more details, visit https://wellington.govt.nz/news-and-events/news-and-information/our-wellington/2021/03/easter-and-anzac-day

Stand at Dawn

In 2020, with the country in at COVID-19 Alert Level 4, New Zealanders marked Anzac Day in their own ‘bubbles’ through the #StandAtDawn campaign. The Returned and Services’ Assocation and New Zealand Defence Force are supporting Stand At Dawn again in 2021. Find out how you can get involved on the NZDF’s website.

History of Anzac Day

The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Turkish defenders.

New Zealanders have marked the landings at Gallipoli since news of the event first reached this country, and Anzac Day has been a public holiday since 1921. On this day the people of New Zealand have acknowledged the sacrifice of all those who have died in warfare, and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.

Over time there have been changes in the way that the day has been commemorated, reflecting the changing features and concerns of our society. During the Second World War, for example, there was increased interest and a heightened sense of the relevance of Anzac Day; in the 1960s and decades following it was from time to time used as a platform for anti-war and other social protest.

Today, at a time when it seems New Zealanders are increasingly keen to assert and celebrate a unique identity, we recognise Anzac Day as a central marker of our nationhood.

The number of New Zealanders attending Anzac Day events in New Zealand, and at Gallipoli, is increasing. For some younger people, the sombre focus of the day receives less emphasis than do the more celebratory aspects of a national holiday. For most, though, the day is an occasion on which to formally pay tribute and to remember.

Anzac Day now promotes a sense of unity. People whose politics, beliefs and aspirations are widely different can share a genuine sorrow at the loss of so many lives in war, and a real respect for those who have endured warfare on behalf of the country we live in.

Historical information

Visit the Ministry's NZHistory website for a comprehensive online collection of material about the different conflicts New Zealand has been involved in from the internal wars of the 19th century to the First and Second World Wars as well as later conflicts. 

NZ History - New Zealand at War

Also see the WW100 - First World War Centenary website 

Statistical information about New Zealand casualties in overseas wars is here.

Anzac legislation

Section 17 of the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 (the Act) prohibits the use of the word ‘Anzac’ in trade or business.  The Ministry has compiled some guidelines as to what uses of Anzac or ANZAC will generally not be in breach of the prohibition in section 17.   

We recommend using the term 'ANZAC' – with all capitals – only when referring to the specific Corps. For all other uses 'Anzac' is preferred. For example, 'On the Western Front there were two Anzac corps, with New Zealand Division serving in II ANZAC Corps until 1918. New Zealanders who died in war are remembered on Anzac Day.'

Use of the word ‘Anzac’ guidelines

Contact us if you have any questions about the use of the term ‘Anzac’.

A copy of the 1916 New Zealand Gazette notice proclaiming Anzac Day as a half-day holiday is available on our NZHistory website.

Legislation passed in 1949 prevented Anzac Day from being 'Mondayised'. The current Anzac Day Act 1966 liberalised activities after 1pm.

In April 2013 the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Act was passed. This legislation enables an extra public holiday when Anzac Day falls on the weekend.

Anzac Day Act 1966

Flags, Emblems, and Name Protection Act 1981

Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Act 2013



Updated on 22nd April 2021