Different generations gathered at dawn services throughout the Bay of Plenty this morning to mark the 97th Anzac Day commemorations.
Thousands of people huddled together along Marine Parade, scattered the banks of Mount Drury and perched on the side of the sand dunes next to the Cenotaph in Mount Maunganui at 6am.
Thousands of people at the Mount Maunganui Anzac Day dawn service.
The Anzac Day parade members marched along the street as the traditional bagpipes rang out through the early morning darkness.
As members of the Returned Services Association remembered their fallen comrades, younger generations adorned with the medals of their ancestors, and people of all ages came together to honour the efforts of New Zealand servicemen and woman.
In Greerton about 2500 people gathered at the Tauranga RSA on Cameron Road for the Anzac service – the ode, the last post and minute’s silence.
Tauranga RSA general manager Graham Howard says Anzac Day is a time for remembrance and reflection.
“It’s also a time a time for celebration of life as well. We are remembering those that have been sacrificed and lost their lives in conflict, but also to celebrate life and what we have got, and how lucky we are,” says Graham.
“Its about any conflict that New Zealand soldiers have participated in, right up until today. We still have soldiers serving in Afghanistan. It’s remembering all of them.”
The Mount Maunganui Cenotaph surrounded by poppies to mark Anzac Day. Photo: Phillipa Yalden
The commander of the HMAS Warramunga gave an address to the Tauranga parade before the New Zealand and Australian national anthems.
“We always do the New Zealand anthem, but we introduced the Australian one today as we had about 60 members of the HMAS Warramunga’s ship company here,” says Graham.
After the 6am service veterans, family and friends packed the Oak Tree Restaurant to enjoy a shot of rum and special early morning breakfast before they make their way to the Civic Service at Memorial Park at 9am.
“They all have a rum and coffee. We have a special recipe coffee we make with chicory and then they get their shot of rum.”
In Te Puke a new World War One memorial was unveiled on the Memorial Hall on Jellicoe Street featuring the names of 68 servicemen and women.
It has been 97 years today since the Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in World War One.
About 400 New Zealand Defence Force members are serving in overseas operations today where Anzac Day services are being held, including Korea, Sudan and Solomon Islands.
Video by Ross Brown.
Members of the HMAS Warramunga at the Tauranga RSA Anzac Service. Photo: Daniel Hines.
Cenotaph in Mount Maunganui. Photo: Phillipa Yalden.
A woman lays a poppie to remember our Anzacs.
The younger generation participate in Anzac Day commemorations at Tauranga RSA. Photo: Daniel Hines.
Members of the NZ Fire Service march in the Anzac Day parade.