Thousands gather to remember the Anzacs

A dawn service around the Auckland War Memorial Museum's cenotaph (@SachaMcNeil)

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders paid their Anzac Day respects around the country as dawn broke this morning.

In Auckland, more than 3000 gathered for the service around the Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph as a thick fog blanketed the city.

Inside, Afghan war veteran and Victoria Cross recipient Willie Apiata presented Duty and Adventure, a reflection on why he joined the New Zealand Defence Force and a look ahead to the centenary in August. 

Thousands gather at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

The City of Auckland pipe band played as veterans and current soldiers filed into the court of honour in front of the cenotaph. The ceremony began with three riders on horseback, an acknowledgment of the 10,000 horses who died during war.

"Fields of Remembrance" on the grounds of Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Wellington’s Civil Dawn Service at the Cenotaph featured a platoon of NZ Defence Force soldiers wearing period 1914 uniforms to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the departure of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) Main Body. Thousands attended a service at the Cenotaph on Lampton Quay, including Sir Peter Jackson.

Around 8000 gathered in Christchurch's Cranmer Square for a dawn parade this morning. Veterans marched in to the hushed park at 6.15am, led by the New Zealand Army Band.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel spoke of the Anzac spirit.

"We join with our honoured veterans to come together to honour the values that saw our young New Zealanders leave our shores 100 years ago this year," she told the crowd.

Later today, Royal New Zealand Navy sailor David Lepou will be singing the National Anthem in front of 90,000 people at the annual Anzac Day AFL match at the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground.  NZDF personnel will also pay special tributes at the AFL match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, and at the V8 Supercar event in Pukekohe. 

New Zealanders and Australians sleep ahead of the dawn service at Gallipoli (@ChrisBath7)

In Turkey, thousands of New Zealanders and Australians will mark the day at a service at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli on Saturday NZ time.

Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli peninsula will commence with a karanga at the 5:30am (local time) Dawn Service.

The New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair at 11.45 will again begin with a karanga before the NZDF catafalque party marches on. Present at the ceremony will be the Governor-General LTGEN the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Hon Michael Woodhouse.

Willie Apiata, VC, speaking at Auckland War Memorial Museum; below - the museum lit up; poppies placed on one of the museum's remembrance walls (@john_holley, @simantics)

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