High Commissioner Dame Annette King shares what Anzac Day means to her as we #StandAtDawn for Anzac Day 2020.

Kia ora tātou. I am standing on ANZAC Parade, Canberra, a magnificent memorial to the men and women of NZ and Australia who have stood side by side in conflicts for over 100 years.

Lining each side of the Parade are Australian gum trees while down the centre are NZ Hebe plants.

At the beginning of the Parade, on each side of the road are bronze arches crafted as the handles of a flax basket.

These two handles represent the shared weight of a basket, a symbol of friendship between our two countries,

Beneath each handle is buried soil from Gallipoli, in a Rimu box for NZ and a Jarrah box for Australia.

This Memorial reminds us of the bond between our two countries, commemorated on the 25th April each year- ANZAC Day.

ANZAC, is not just a collection of letters, it’s much more than that. It represents endurance, courage, selflessness, dedication, ingenuity, good humour and mate ship, often called the “ANZAC spirit”

We are facing an uncertain future as a deadly virus is changing the way we live and work, Most of us have never had to face such a crisis. We still have a few with us who do know what a changed world looks like.

As we move out of these testing times NZ and Australia will need to once again call on that ANZAC Spirit. We have done it before we can do it again.

Each of us will have a special memory for what ANZAC Day means to us personally.

For me I think of the War Memorial in my small home town of Murchison in the South Island where we would gather each ANZAC Day. Below the statue of a soldier are inscribed the names of those who lost their lives in wars, so many from such a small town but not unique. Such memorials can be found from the North Cape to Bluff.

I also think of my cousin Donald who died in Vietnam at the age of 19 years and wonder what his life would have been.

I remember all those who lost their lives and now lie buried in far away places. The memory  of  poppies in Flanders fields  will stay with me forever.

Whatever your memory is today can be passed on from generation to generation.

Lest we forget.

To watch this video message, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/nzhcaus/videos/236372767566913/ (external link)