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Anzac Day

Anzac Day occurs on 25 April. It commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and also honours returned servicemen and women.

Anzac Day background

The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Turkish defenders.

The New Zealand Defence Force is responsible for organising military commemorations for the First World War centenary at Gallipoli and other overseas locations. You can find details of national commemorations to be held overseas under the First World War Centenary Programme Office's (WW100) events webpage.

One of the major projects for the First World War centenary involved creating heritage trails of key battle sites at Gallipoli and the Western Front, so New Zealanders and other visitors can develop a fuller appreciation of the part New Zealand played in these conflicts. In 2015 a free smartphone and tablet app were published, offering a new way to explore both campaigns. These apps feature compelling diary entries from the First World War, with clear facts, authentic and beautiful imagery as well as audio tours narrated by leading historians. 

WW100's events page

Gallipoli and Western Front heritage trails

Commemorative dates

Dates for key New Zealand domestic and overseas commemorative and ceremonial events which will be marked during the First World War centenary from 2014 to 2019 were announced by former Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson in September 2013. Details about the different themes of the experiences of the First World War over the 2014–2019 period were announced in July 2014.

New Zealand domestic and overseas commemorative and ceremonial events.

WW100 First World War Centenary Programme announced

WW100 - the centenary of New Zealand's participation in the First World War

WW100, the centenary of New Zealand's participation in the First World War, will be marked over several years through a variety of commemorative projects and activities.  Whether you are a school, business or a local community organisation, an individual or a government department, our WW100 website aims to help you get involved with the First World War Centenary (2014-2019).

WW100 website

Anzac legislation

Section 17 of the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 (the Act) prohibits the use of the word ‘Anzac’ in trade or business.  The Ministry has compiled some guidelines as to what uses of Anzac or ANZAC will generally not be in breach of the prohibition in section 17.   

We recommend using the term 'ANZAC' – with all capitals – only when referring to the specific Corps. For all other uses 'Anzac' is preferred. For example, 'On the Western Front there were two Anzac corps, with New Zealand Division serving in II ANZAC Corps until 1918. New Zealanders who died in war are remembered on Anzac Day.'

Use of the word ‘Anzac’ guidelines

Contact us if you have any questions about the use of the term ‘Anzac’.

A copy of the 1916 New Zealand Gazette notice proclaiming Anzac Day as a half-day holiday is available on our NZHistory.net website.

Legislation passed in 1949 prevented Anzac Day from being 'Mondayised'. The current Anzac Day Act 1966 liberalised activities after 1pm.

In April 2013 the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Act was passed. This legislation enables an extra public holiday when Anzac Day falls on the weekend.

Anzac Day Act 1966

Flags, Emblems, and Name Protection Act 1981

Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Act 2013