ANZAC Day in New Zealand

When is ANZAC Day?

ANZAC Day is on April 26, 2021.
It falls on Monday.

How many days until ANZAC Day?

There are 53 Days left until ANZAC Day in New Zealand.

What is ANZAC Day?

Anzac Day is a public holiday in New Zealand which commemorates the date of the landing of the Anzacs at Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. ANZAC is an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps which refers to the brave soldiers who fought, served, and sacrificed their lives at Gallipoli Peninsula during the First World War. The allied soldiers were referred to as Anzacs. Aside from New Zealand, other countries like England and Australia also observe Anzac Day. Over the course of history, the observance of ANZAC Day expanded to honor and pay tribute all the New Zealanders who have fought and sacrificed their lives during wars or any peace-making efforts. Although Anzac Day has been observed in New Zealand since 1916, it was not until 1920 when it became a public holiday in the country. In New Zealand, public holidays are also known as statutory holidays.

Origin of ANZAC Day

When the First World War begun on year 1914, both Australia and New Zealand were under the British Empire. On year 1915, the soldiers from New Zealand and Australia formed an allied expedition to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, which is located in Turkey. They were called Anzacs. The intent of the Anzacs’ unified expedition is to capture Gallipoli Peninsula which will in turn, expose and weaken the capital of Ottoman Empire which is Constantinople. Back then, Ottoman Empire was an ally of Germany. Once Constantinople is defeated, Suez Canal will be secured which will provide the allied navies a secure supply route through the Black Sea. Such event (Gallipoli Campaign) led to the death of thousands of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand.

The Battle of Gallipoli

Otherwise known as Dardanelles Campaign or Gallipoli Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli took place during World War I which was an Anglo-French Operation against Turkey. Such battle involved thousands of soldiers from New Zealand and Australia. Although they recognize that such operation is dangerous, they thought it was possible. The eight-month war ended up as Ottoman Victory, under the command of Mustafa Kemal (also known as Atatürk). Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, eight years after the war, ended up as the president and founder of the Republic of Turkey.

Although the objective of Anzacs for the Gallipoli campaign failed, it did capture the hearts of the public. After eight months of war with Turkish defenders, the Anzacs were finally evacuated by the British. To honor those who sacrificed their lives, those who returned home alive, and to recognize the soldiers’ bravery, Anzac Day is observed.

Why is ANZAC Day celebrated on 25th of April?

The reason why Anzac Day is observed every 25th day of April is because it’s the anniversary date when the Anzacs landed at Gallipoli Peninsula, which specifically took place on April 25, 1915. The allied expedition may have failed with its military objectives; however, the soldiers’ bravery, sacrifice, and heroism make the day special. To date, Anzac Day is also observed in Australia on the same date for the same reason.

When did Anzac Day become a public holiday in New Zealand?

Anzac Day became an official public holiday in New Zealand in 1920, through the Anzac Day Act 1920. Although it was declared a public holiday few years after the event, the public has been commemorating Anzac Day since 1916. The day was established as a holiday to honor, pay tribute, and recognize those who sacrificed their lives as well as those who served the country in pursuit of peace. Originally, Anzac Day only pays tribute to the soldiers from Gallipoli Campaign, but over the course of history, specifically after the World War II, such observance of Anzac Day expanded to include all the New Zealanders who fought, sacrificed, and served for the country in wars or conflicts.


ANZAC Day Traditions in New Zealand

Over the years, different traditions have been practiced in New Zealand during Anzac Day. The public observes this holiday to honor and pay tribute to the members of ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and those who died serving for the country in wars or conflict. Among the most common public activities are the following:

Dawn Marches and Anzac Day Parade

Participating and taking part in dawn service has been an essential part of tradition which spans across different generations of New Zealanders during Anzac Day. The timing of the dawn service is associated with the time when the Anzacs landed on Gallipoli Peninsula. The New Zealand National Anthem is sung on Anzac Dawn Service. Many people attend the Anzac Day Parade, which is usually participated by veterans wearing their medals, marching bands, and more. A brass band performance is often present on this event. In some parts of the country, fly overs take place which use military aircrafts.

Visiting War Memorials

For most people, visiting war memorials is part of the observance during Anzac Day. People head to memorials and offer flowers at the soldiers’ grave in war cemeteries such as the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Muruika War Cemetery in Ohinemutu, and the Pukeahu War Memorial in Wellington. People observe a minute of silence as a way to honor the soldiers who lost their lives.

Paper Poppies, Symbol of Remembrance on Anzac Day

Many countries use the poppy as a symbol of remembrance. For instance, for countries commemorating Armistice Day, the poppy is commonly worn as a symbol of remembrance to those who lost their lives serving the country in pursuit of peace and unity. For New Zealand, the poppy is mostly worn during Anzac Day, particularly pinned in their shirts. It is considered as an emblem of remembrance to those who died during war. Red or Flanders poppy is a kind of plant which is said to be the first plant to emerge and blossom on battleground in the Belgian region of Flanders. Many people pin paper poppy on their shirts as a symbol of remembrance to those soldiers who died during war.

Dates of Observance for ANZAC Day
Year Date Day Holiday
2021 April 26 Monday ANZAC Day
2022 April 25 Monday ANZAC Day
2023 April 25 Tuesday ANZAC Day
2024 April 25 Thursday ANZAC Day
2025 April 25 Friday ANZAC Day
2026 April 27 Monday ANZAC Day
Upcoming New Zealand Holidays
Holiday Date
Good Friday April 02, 2021
Easter Sunday April 04, 2021
Easter Monday April 05, 2021