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Prime Minister's message

As some organisers of Armistice Day 100 events have indicated that they would like to read out a message from the Prime Minister or the Governor-General, here is the Armistice Day 100 message from the Prime Minister.

This content of message is embargoed until 11 November 2018. It should not be republished or broadcast before that date.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister of New Zealand

Message for the centenary of Armistice Day

11 November 2018

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the Armistice came into effect that would finally end the First World War. When a message from Prime Minister William Massey broke the news, our nation came to a standstill, with a ‘roaring chorus’ of signal guns, sirens, bells and whistles. People left their offices, their homes and their schools and the streets were filled with singing, speechmaking, dancing and flag-waving, bonfires, fireworks and processions. For the whole day and on into the night, much of New Zealand was joined in celebration.

It is hard today to imagine how it felt to hear that news. For four long years New Zealanders had suffered the privations of war, and the enthusiasm with which our nation had answered the call to arms had long since given way to anxiety, disillusionment and the pain of loss. The influenza pandemic that had so cruelly struck the previous month was to bring even more tragedy to an already war-weary nation.

Armistice Day 2018 is an opportunity to look back over our own journey of the past four years, as we have traced the events of the war through our commemorative programme WW100. The centenary has connected us with our past, our ancestors and our tūpuna. With hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders – from veterans to school students – participating in commemorative events, it has connected us with each other too. It has been a period of learning and a time to reflect on the lasting effects of the war, deepening our understanding of where we’ve come from as a nation and heightening our connectedness with the international community.

Armistice Day is also a time to contemplate the meaning of peace – with our hindsight that another world war was soon to follow, and in a world where conflict is still all too frequent. Acknowledging the horror of war, and honouring those who served and those who lost their lives, must strengthen our commitment to working together, at home and through international forums, in the interests of peace and prosperity that every New Zealander can share.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister of New Zealand

Published on 24th October 2018