In her address at the dawn parade at Avarua on Friday, New Zealand High Commissioner Joanna Kempkers spoke of lessons learned from conflicts.
“Today we remember and pay respect not just to those who paid the ultimate price during those conflicts, but also to those who returned home, carrying great burdens, and who have, like history, taught us the lessons they learned in conflict,” said Kempkers.
“They have taught us to value our freedoms, and those of others; to hold dear the values of democracy and a respect for human rights. They have taught us that going to war should always be the last resort, and that New Zealand, as a small country on the other side of the world, should always use our voice on the international stage to support those values and to promote multilateral solutions.”
Kempkers recalled the events in 1914 that led to the Austro-Hungarians declaring war and began bombarding the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
It was the invasion of Belgium that brought Great Britain, and through her New Zealand and the Cook Islands, into the Great War.
“The tensions we are witnessing currently in Ukraine bear certain similarities to the Balkan crisis of 1914,” said Kempkers.
"The events that took place at Gallipoli in 1915 meant that April 25 would forever after be a date of national significance for all New Zealanders and Australians. On this day and every year since 1915 we honour and remember the Anzac soldiers who landed at Gallipoli.
But the day now has broader significance, and we remember all service men and women who have served their country, and the millions of civilians who have been and continue to be impacted by war. Since the First World War New Zealanders have served in WWII, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Bosnia and Afghanistan as well as in many other peacekeeping operations. Cook Islanders have stood shoulder to shoulder with other New Zealanders throughout.”
Kempkers added that honouring the Anzac soldiers who landed at Gallipoli, lessons learned from conflicts and promoting multilateral solutions for conflicts are what we must remember on Anzac Day.
“If we can, then God willing, we will not repeat history in Ukraine.”
At the later civic service, similar sentiments were expressed by the president of the Religious Advisory Council president Pastor Eliu Eliu while acting Prime Minister Mark Brown recounted his family’s experiences with the loss of a loved one in World War II.
NZ Deputy High Commissioner Aimee Jepson announced the prize winners in the second Anzac essay competition and introduced Flora Burrell-Ellery, who read her first place –winning poem to the service.
Prizewinners were: Overall Winner Eryka Tommy (non-fiction essay). Poem Category, Flora Burrell-Ellery 1; Jasmin Naslund and Raitiavatea Herman 2 equal; Fiction Essay Category; Tiamarama Tuivaga 1,Beatrice Markwell 2, Angelina Mitchell 3; Non-fiction Essay Category; Jette Johnson 1, Avana Hagai 2, Tiavaknoa Solomone 3; Highly Commended Prizes, Eleanor Wichman, Scott Karaiti, Meilani Payne, Tutemaki Tairi, Cherie Timoti; Commendations, Naomi Teataiariki, Maui Tatam and Zsaleya Sword-Tua