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New Zealand pauses to remember the fallen

Friday 25 Apr 2014 11:58 a.m.

By Ben Irwin and 3 News online staff

Thousands of people have gathered at Anzac services throughout the country to mark the 99th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign.

More than 2500 Kiwi soldiers were killed when they stormed the beaches at Gallipoli in 1915.

Those soldiers, as well as New Zealand veterans of all other conflicts, were honoured at today's services.

Young and old came to pay their respects to those who served, many making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Auckland's War Memorial Museum was the scene for today's biggest Anzac service. Weather had threatened to disrupt proceedings, but held off.

A gentle fog added to the sense of occasion, but lifted in time for the ceremony.

Auckland RSA president Graham Gibson estimated there were between 15,000 and 18,000 at the service.

"It was lovely to see the young ones come out today. More and more of them are coming out, which is great – we're coming up to the centennial."

In Wellington, crowds gathered at the cenotaph to remember those who served and died fighting for New Zealand.

Next year commemorations in the city will shift to the new National Memorial Precinct, due to open in time for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign.

"I think the opening of the park is a recognition by the Government, by New Zealand that it's about

time New Zealand had that National Memorial, that place where we can all gather and recognise ourselves as New Zealanders," says Lt Gen Tim Keating, chief of the Defence Force.

And in Christchurch, thousands got up early for a dawn service held in Cranmer Square on the edge of the CBD.

Christchurch's Retired Service Association president, Peter Dawson, dedicated the offerings to "those who did not return".

"In tranquil peace they sleep, long remembered through the years," he said.

Meanwhile Mayor Lianne Dalziel spoke of the ANZAC spirit.

"We join with our honoured veterans to come together to honour the values that saw our young New Zealanders leave our shores 100 years ago this year."

It's hoped the service can be moved back to its traditional home in Cathedral Square next year in time for the 100-year Anzac commemorations.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid their respects to Australia's fallen servicemen and women before ending their 10-day royal tour. Prince William and Kate joined Governor-General Peter Cosgrove at the event to mark the 99th anniversary of the dawn landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli.

The couple will then be reunited with their son, Prince George, before flying out of the country.

3 News

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