E hoki ana aku mahara ki ō tātou tāngata,
rātou i tū ki te pae o te riri
kia ora ai te pae o te maungarongo.
E whitu tekau mā rima tau te kaumatua o tēnei rau aroha.
Kei wareware i a tātou.
100 years ago, as New Zealanders observed their 5th Anzac Day, many were also grieving for family members who had died in the 1918 flu pandemic.
Today, on Anzac Day 2020, we are afflicted by a new global health crisis which has prevented us from standing side by side and paying our respects to our war dead.
We will not go to public commemorations, Returned and Services Association gatherings, or even to the homes of family and friends.
Our veterans, who are among the most vulnerable New Zealanders at this time, will not share this significant day with their comrades.
Instead, we will honour their service to our nation from our homes across New Zealand.
They will be in our thoughts and in our hearts.
2020 has special significance, as it marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. We are privileged to still have veterans from that war in our communities – New Zealanders who responded when we faced another terrible global emergency.
2020 also marks 70 years since the outbreak of the Korean War, 60 years since the end of the Malayan Emergency, and
45 years since the end of the Vietnam War.
Today we honour all New Zealanders who have served in these and other conflicts, and the families and whānau who have been affected by war.
We remember the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in service. And we reflect on the service of our current defence forces in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world in conflict and emergency zones.
The present circumstances force us to live within closed borders, but Anzac Day is a time to remember our connections with the wider world, the military histories we share and the friendships we have forged with other nations.
It’s a day to remember that we are strongest when we work together for a common purpose – particularly during the most trying of times.
In 1918, boy scouts delivered food during the flu pandemic.
Today, many volunteers are helping the vulnerable – and New Zealanders owe a debt of gratitude to them and to everyone working in our essential services – including those working across the health sector, our police and emergency responders, broadcasters and media personnel, and the many people involved in the production and distribution of food.
We support each other in the ethos of kotahitanga, or ‘unity’, guided by the wisdom of the whakatauki
“Whakapupungia o manuka, kia kore ai e whati”
which reminds us that a single fence post will snap in a strong wind, whereas the combined strength of many posts will hold fast.
As we unite in remembrance of the many challenges that have buffeted and shaped us as a nation, we stand as one in the face of enormous challenge, knowing that in doing so, we can and will prevail.
Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou.