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Anzac Day 2020

Each year on the 25th of April, New Zealand and Australia come together to commemorate Anzac Day. The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers, on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. 

However, it also commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and honours returned servicemen and women, from all conflicts. 

Due to the impact of Covid-19 the Returned and Services Association (RSA) and Auckland Council, made the difficult decision to cancel all public Anzac Day commemorations and postpone the RSA's Poppy Day appeal. This is the first time Anzac Day services have been cancelled since 1916. 

Anzac Day at Auckland War Memorial Museum

Anzac Day at Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum PH-RES-1354

The Online Cenotaph team has worked with New Zealand Historians and families to share some stories on the History and meaning of Anzac Day, and the lives of veterans who have served for New Zealand. We are extremely grateful to all those who have contributed. 

  • Staying connected

    Charlotte Macdonald
    History, Victoria University of Wellington

    In 2020 we are learning anew what distance and separation means. Charlotte Macdonald shows us that while distance in war time or distance to stop the spread of disease are two different reasons for separation but in both we turn to all the tools we have to stay connected, to save life as well as lives.

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  • Māori Mobilisation: Wartime, Peacetime, Covid-19-time

    Dr Aroha Harris
    University of Auckland, History Department

    Historically, major crises – whether war or disease – that took and disrupted far too many lives also generated unreservedly Māori responses, often paying attention to whānau and community health and wellbeing. Dr Aroha Harris ponders iwi Māori capacity to mobilise throughout the 20th and 21st Century.

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  • History of Poppy Day

    Dr Stephen Clarke
    Making History Ltd.

    Poppy Day is usually held on a Friday before Anzac Day and is one of the oldest nationwide appeals by a voluntary welfare organisation in New Zealand. This year is the first year the Returned and Services Association have made the difficult decision to postpone the national Poppy Day appeal. Here Dr. Stephen Clarke reflects on the History of the Poppy Day.

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  • Names not numbers

    Christopher Pugsley
    Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), ONZM, DPhil, FRHistS

    Christopher Pugsley, reflects on the upcoming Anzac Day in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how we still remember those who were killed during war and those returned service men and women from all conflicts.

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  • Centenary of the Anzac Day Act

    Dr Boxer’s Service and the Making of Anzac Day
    Dr Stephen Clarke, Making History Ltd.

    100 years ago Anzac Day 1920 — the fifth anniversary of Gallipoli — was declared the most solemn and impressive to date. Unlike the spontaneous first Anzac Day in 1916, and the muddled observances that followed, this was the result of a conscious effort to make Anzac Day 1920 a sacred day.

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  • Language from the First World War

    Glyn Harper
    Professor of War Studies at Massey University

    As we're all confined to quarters, spare a thought for those who spent months and years in the squalid environs of the First World War. Just as words like 'lockdown' and 'bubble' have come to define our COVID-19 lives, war spawned a new, often times humorous, language to describe the miserable, dangerous and peculiar world that soldiers found themselves in.

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  • Samuel Frank Noon

    Madison Pine
    Collection Technician, Online Cenotaph

    Samuel Frank Noon, was a Malaya and Thailand Veteran, he was devoted to the Veteran community and played a significant role helping to organise the Auckland War Memorial Museum Anzac Day ceremony. In March 2019, Madison Pine spoke to Eileen Noon about her beloved husband Sam.

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  • Contemplating commemoration in a digital world

    Victoria Passau
    Collection Manager, Online Cenotaph

    This article considers commemoration, distance, digital collections, & archival ethics—important questions for these strange times.

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