Anzac Day

Written By: - Date published: 8:36 am, April 25th, 2014 - 41 comments
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Poppys anzac day

I hope everyone has a thoughtful and fulfilling Anzac day. If you have not already attended a dawn parade there are a number of remembrance events throughout the country. It is a day to reflect on what our ancestors did for us in their hope of creating a better place. And it is a time to celebrate as a community what it means to live in Aotearoa New Zealand.

41 comments on “Anzac Day”

  1. Tinfoilhat 1

    Lest we forget

  2. veutoviper 3

    The background to the use of the red poppy –

    And lest we forget…

    “In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.”

  3. bad12 4

    Lest We Forget…

    ”So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed,
    and shipped us back home to Australia,

    The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane,
    these proud wounded heroes of Suvla,

    And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay,
    i looked at the place my legs used to be,

    And thanked Christ there was no-one waiting for me,
    to grieve and to mourn and to pity,

    And the band played waltzing matilda
    as they carried us down the gangway,

    But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared,
    and turned their faces away,

    And the band played waltzing matilda”– Eric Bogle…

    • karol 4.1

      Thanks for reminding me of this song. Eric Bogle sings it.

      I have mixed feelings about ANZAC Day. It is becoming increasingly romanticised in this services of contemporary patriotism. So I tend not to get into celebrating it.

      The TV One drama last week on the harsh treatment of conscientious obectors is worth a look.

      Looking at Papers Past articles reporting the WWI “casualities” as they were reported at the time, is very sobering. Lists and lists of young men gone – a truly catastrophic event that was damaging to the whole of society.


      Just one of many lists.

      Auckland Libraries Heritage Images has pictures from the Auckland Weekly News of men killed in action during WWI. – Enter “killed in action” in the description field; enter 1910-1919 in the “decade” field,then hit “Advanced search”.

      And why does the war rememberances begin with WWI? What about the wars in Aotearoa prior to that?

      • bad12 4.1.1

        ”Gallipoli was our coming of age as a nation don’t you know”, such sick sentimentality over what was essentially an act of ongoing mass murder on the part of our ‘leaders’ just makes me want to fucking puke,

        World war one was the last stand of Kings and Queens and Generals all interbred as a ‘class’ who fell all over themselves to ‘sacrifice’ millions to retain their power as the wave of Socialism swept across all of Europe, passed from hand to hand in the form of pamphlets urging the under-classes to seek social justice,

        On a personal level, the Grandfather i never knew survived Gallipoli sound of body but not mind, walking out one day never to be heard of by the family again,(years later we tracked Him down to the far North after His death,RIP),

        The Grandmothers second husband who also served and survived would as a joke point the stub of His missing finger at me and it took me many years to understand the gales of mad laughter i provoked from Him and the Grandmother when as a 5 year old i said to Him ”the soldier who shot it off must have been a good shot”,

        The missing finger,??? the one used to pull the trigger…

        • RedLogix

          On a personal level, the Grandfather i never knew survived Gallipoli sound of body but not mind

          How often have we seen that. In some ways it was the ones who did not come back who were the lucky ones.

          (And if you think that an off-colour thing to say – it was told to me by an Uncle who like bad12’s Grandfather – was fully qualified to say it.)

      • Rosie 4.1.2

        Hi karol. The drama you link to, “Field Punishment No.1” was a really good watch. A worthwhile content contrast to the what appears to be increasing sentimentality around ANZAC.

        In our family this day has never been celebrated. My elderly Mum lost her brother in law to suicide after he found it difficult to settle back into civilian life on his return from WW2, leaving behind his wife and two young sons. Mum, or my Aunt never had any desire to remember such personal pain after so long spent trying to recover from it. Mum’s brother on the other hand was quite engaged with RSA activities during his life post WW2.

        Thanks to veutoviper, bad12, joe90, Olwyn, Paul, misc and TeWhareWhero for the songs and poems.

      • RedLogix 4.1.3

        as they were reported at the time, is very sobering. Lists and lists of young men gone – a truly catastrophic event that was damaging to the whole of society.

        A few years ago I found myself with a little spare time in a small (and rather pleasant) rural town of about 2000 people in NSW called Tumbarrumba. A few corners walk away from the main street is the town’s war memorial.

        It’s a modest affair, really just a wall with names on it. What struck me was not just how many names were on it – but how very many had the same surname. Some may have been brothers, many more cousins and relatives within extended family.

        One surname appeared 19 times. This in a small isolated town. It was an unmitigated catastrophe that ripped the guts out of a generation.

    • Marius 4.2

      The poem you put up is more like the reality. Thanks for posting it, Bad12

  4. joe90 5


    IF you can keep your head when all about you

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;

    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

    And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,

    And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

    ‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

    if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

    Rudyard Kipling.

    • Once was Tim 5.1

      +1 @ Joe 90.

      Really nice.
      Except many of us have been doing the waiting for 30 or so years as the tendency towards fascism marches on. I reckon the reason why the publica can’t see it is because, rather than a march against race and ethnicity, its a war on class – simply using the same mechanism (confusion of state and private power and enterprise, tendencies towards monopoly or duopoly behaviour; the hijacking of language and spin; the creation of an elite class the masses should aspire to; a figurehead (not necessarily that bright but one who can claim ‘roots’ that can be seem to be empathetic with the masses; and a Public Sphere that’s been captured because those that provide the platform have already been captured …….
      It’s all a bit like the purpetTRATORS .
      Jesus H Christ

  5. Olwyn 6

    They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old
    Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.

  6. Paul 7

    Dulce et Decorum est

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering,choking, drowning.
    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    Wilfred Owen
    8 October 1917 – March, 1918

    • joe90 7.1

      The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

      So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
      And took the fire with him, and a knife.
      And as they sojourned both of them together,
      Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
      Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
      But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
      Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
      and builded parapets and trenches there,
      And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
      When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
      Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
      Neither do anything to him. Behold,
      A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
      Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

      But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
      And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

      Wilfred Owen

  7. misc 8

    Consider now the happy lot
    Of those who make cement:
    In war they turn the pill-box out.
    In peace the monument.

    —Denis Glover

  8. TeWhareWhero 9

    Final Faith

    Is it possible that we are so twisted
    there is no salvation for any of us,
    and that ideas have become wingless
    in an age of winged rockets?

    Is it possible that a crippled birch,
    bending over to the last river,
    will see the last man
    in its boiling water?

    Is it possible there’ll be no Big Ben,
    Saint Basil’s, or Notre Dame
    and that neutron foam will gush
    over our final steps?

    But that planet, cherry trees,
    birds, and children will perish,
    I don’t believe. This disbelief
    is my final faith.

    Skull after skull will not
    be piled up in towers again.
    The final Nuremberg approaches us
    before, not after the war.

    And the last soldier on earth
    will throw his shoulder strap in a stream,
    and watch how peacefully
    dragonflies sit on it.

    All rascality will end.
    All people will understand-we are a family.
    The last government
    will abolish itself.

    The last exploiter,
    opening his toothless mouth,
    will gobble the last money
    furtively like a delicacy.

    The last cowardly editor
    will be doomed forever
    to read from the stage in sequence
    everything that he destroyed.

    So that the last bureaucrat
    can rest and be silent,
    his gullet will be stuffed in payment
    with the last rubber stamp.

    And the earth will turn
    without fear of the last years,
    there never will be born
    the last great poet.

    Yevgeny Yevtushenko

  9. Anne 10

    ANZAC Day is a time to remember parents, grandparents and even great grandparents who lived through a kind of hell we can only pretend to understand. It’s a day to ‘plant a poppy’ for them and say thank-you for their caring and fortitude in the face of, in many cases, extreme adversity.

    • tinfoilhat 10.1


    • TeWhareWhero 10.2

      It should be a time to reflect on who causes and who benefits from wars – and vowing to stop them.

      If Anzac Day was secular and was about coming together to reflect on the tragedy and futility of sacrificing countless millions of human beings on the altars of imperialism, militarism and corporatism, and determining to prevent wars in future, I would support it. It’s not, so I don’t.

      That doesn’t mean I don’t understand or value the sacrifices made by earlier generations – I don’t see their deaths as ‘glorious’ – just as a tragic waste.

      • Anne 10.2.1

        Agree with you 100% Te WhareWhero and so do many of the “returned heroes”.

        But it can be used as a commemoration or time of thanksgiving to our respective loved ones – long gone for many. In other words, one day in the year to remember their contributions and sacrifices in times of war and famine. A tiny but poignant gesture of appreciation.

        I don’t attend ANZAC ceremonies. I wait until later in the day when the “glorification of war” is done, and then I pay my respects to those who went before me.

        • not Petey

          Gawd typical… couldn’t resist the “glorification of war” smear to all those who get up for the dawn parade and services around the country.

          • joe90

            Gawd typical… couldn’t resist the “glorification of war” smear to all those who get up for the dawn parade and services around the country.

            In thirty plus years I skipped dawn service a handful of times but then little snots started turning up and rather than a sombre gathering with a march by those who served it became a place where fuckwits joined the march wearing another mans medals.

            Despicable, and that was it for me.

      • Rosie 10.2.2

        +1 TeWhareWhero, and to Anne below.

        • Anne

          Thanks Rosie.

          Seems ‘not Petey’ didn’t actually read what I said and by implication, Te Whare Whero. Sad.

      • JAK 10.2.3

        With you there, brother.

  10. Chris 11

    Returned Serviceman – Sam Hunt

    The drinking-driving blitz is on,
    We take the back roads home.
    Another old soldier gone,
    A man who fought the Somme.

    We won’t meet at the cenotaph
    Recalling wars we fought –
    No obituary or photograph
    At the Magistrate’s Court.

    At closing time Len left the pub –
    What better time to leave –
    Yelled out ‘I’ll catch you down the club’
    To Jerry, me and Steve.

    Too far gone to wink or think,
    Lenses fogged as in a sauna,
    His left-hand headlight on the blink,
    A cop around the corner.

    Len’s old Morrie wasn’t worth much
    And Len a dead duck –
    ‘Anyway, she was short on clutch
    And me, I’m short on luck!’

    Len looked befuddled beside his heap
    Crumpled as a fallen flag.
    ‘Please take a big breath, long and deep
    And blow into this bag.’

    The court was like the Dawn Parade
    The cop gave evidence
    Like he’d led the Light Brigade
    And not a twitch or wince

    From Len, V.C. and D.S.O.
    His medals polished up;
    The same three-piece those years ago
    He wore when signing up.

    Five hundred dollars, licence scrapped,
    A hotel drinking ban:
    Len laughed it off, but something snapped,
    He was a broken man.

    And fading fast, before his time –
    Unbroken by a war –
    He lives in town now, drinks cheap wine,
    Wonders what he fought for.

  11. Marius 12

    And Israel suspends the peace talks

    • RedLogix 13.1

      And one link away from the excellent Historian on the Edge is another recent post from another blog I’ve often read in the past – Stonekettle Station.

      I don’t always agree with Jim Wright but he has my respect for always making me think very hard why.

    • Marius 13.2

      Great article. thanks for it

  12. Paul Campbell 14

    I’m not sure that “Happy” is ever a word that should be applied to Anzac day – happy is not ever what it’s about

    And whenever we hear over the next 4 years someone “celebrating” the centenary of WW1 that there is nothing to celebrate the best way of describing it is as “a clusterfuck by the then ruling classes”

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Then there was WWII – Europe, WWII – Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I and Iraq II, Afghanistan…and which of these could also be classed as “a clusterfuck by the then ruling classes”?

  13. ExKiwiforces 15

    Dear MickeySavage,

    Can you please explain why you have said have a happy ANZAC Day?

    I find the white poppy very offensive! To me it means you/ this website support the war muggers that handed out the white feathers to those members/ family members who did not do their bit because they were excluded from war service until they were force to join up like my Great Great Uncle:

    Rank: Rifleman
    Service No:74852
    Date of Death:04/11/1918
    Regiment/Service: New Zealand Rifle Brigade 4th Bn. 3rd Coy
    Grave Reference I. G. 6.CemeteryCROSS ROADS CEMETERY, FONTAINE-AU-BOIS

    Additional Information:
    Son of Louis Isidore Beaurepaire and Elizabeth Jane Beaurepaire, of 65, Wilson St., Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand.
    Born at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.”

    Every time he went into town or his parents they were given a white feather to the point he and parents were relieve that he a got called up because they couldn’t stand anymore white feathers. Up until I return from active service back in 2000 (East Timor, INTERFET) he was never talked about because of the White Feather until I started asking questions that’s even after my Granddads and Great Uncles WW2 service.

    In our family we are Anti War, but we also know that Jaw, Jaw doesn’t a stop war unless there are people like me (men and women of the Armed Forces) who prepare to go war to look after the little people who can’t protect or speech for themselves from the big bullies.

    Also I lost a very good mate to active service (KIA) because he stood for the very principles that I and the Modern day ANZACS stand for! I still remember our last beer we had in the baggies bar at Burnham before I discharge from the NZ Army in 98 because I had transfer to a Commonwealth Nation for better pay and conditions. I was an L/CPL, ex NZ Scottish Sqn/ QAMR Regt, RNZAC.
    RIP: Lenny
    Pte L Manning, B Coy 2nd/1st Battalion Burnham, Ex WAI/WEC Sqn RNZAC. KIA: East Timor 2000
    Least We Forget.

    • lprent 15.1

      To me it means you/ this website support the war muggers that handed out the white feathers..

      Perhaps you should read about what the white poppy signifies. Your current opinion appears to have little to do with the reality of how the white poppy movement originated. It had nothing to do with the white feather movement. In fact it was diametrically opposed to that stupidity.

      For your information, the white feather was handed by jingoistic fools who had no idea what modern warfare involved and handed them out to those who they considered were cowards who had not joined up to face fixed position machine guns. I’d suggest that you go to any war memorial museum and read up on it so you get a better idea of the white feather movement.

      In our family we are Anti War, but we also know that Jaw, Jaw doesn’t a stop war unless there are people like me (men and women of the Armed Forces) who prepare to go war to look after the little people who can’t protect or speech for themselves from the big bullies.

      Part of the freedom you seek to retain is an ability to dissent. Embrace it the same way that I did despite the many of the family in my grandparents and great grandparents generation who had their youth, live and eardrums cut short. For that matter for the time that I spent in the army making damn sure that my neices, nephews, cousins, and their next generations would have a better chance at not having to.

      I have to say that I’m disappointed that a current soldier is so ill-informed as to not understand the history of warfare and the civilian responses over the last hundred years. What in the hell are the military teaching the young idiots these days.

  14. Murray Olsen 16

    April 25 also marks the day that Portugal got rid of the fascist Salazar dictatorship.

    As far as I’m concerned, the best ways to commemorate and remember the sacrifices made by our forebears are to build a society they would have thought worth fighting for. They did not fight to see pensions cut, hundreds of thousands without work, homeless people in a land of milk and honey, overpaid CEOs, and a Colonel Blimp running Christchurch. They did not fight to be lied to and spied on. They did not fight for a world that pays lip service once a year.

    • Halfcrown 16.1

      Well said Murray could not agree with you more.

      The attitude at the end of the second world war was one of not repeating the mistakes of 1918,(when my dear old dad who was a stretcher bearer on the Somme, returned to England, a land fit for heroes he went straight on the dole as there was no work) although Britain was bankrupt in 1945 things like the NHS was set up to for benefit of all the population. Massive council house building to house the homeless and to get rid of the slums. Modernisation of the clapped out railways that had been run into the ground prior to the war and completely stuffed during it. The national grid, modernisation of the education system and doing away with the class forming examination called matriculation that pigeon holed you for life at the age of 11. These people did try and build a better society. Why is it then, with all the wealth in the world, we are going backwards and the likes of Cammoron says there must be more austerity. as he nibbles at his Caviar. The reason GREED caused by the generations following, with no thought to the future or compassion for their fellow man.

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