A time to honour the bravery of the generations that came before us, those who sacrificed so much, ANZAC Day is a reminder to stop and give thanks for all the freedoms we enjoy. After last year’s necessary hiatus, traditional ANZAC Day commemorations are back for 2021, with dawn services and parades taking place all around the country. Whether you plan on getting up before sunrise or simply spending the day with family, remembering the grandparents and great-grandparents who served so selflessly, we have rounded up a few of the best ways to commemorate ANZAC Day this year.
Attend a service the night before
Head to St David’s on the eve of ANZAC Day for a brief service of remembrance. Running from 5pm until 5:30pm, the outdoor service will be followed by supper and music in the hall, and promises to be a lovely way to mark the day, albeit slightly ahead of time.
Rise at dawn
While there will be many services held around Auckland on ANZAC Day (full list here) the largest will be held in the Domain, in front of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. There, the parade will begin at 5:45 am with the service commencing at 6 am. A large turnout is expected this year, so if you plan on driving in, we suggest arriving early to secure your spot.
If you haven’t attended the dawn service at the Auckland War Museum before, it carries a gravitas that really speaks to the importance of the occasion, and for that reason, has long been our favourite way to kick off ANZAC Day.
Head into the Auckland War Memorial Museum
Immediately after the dawn service, the Auckland War Memorial Museum will open its doors to offer free entry for everyone all day. With its espresso bar and cafe open from 7 am, the museum invites visitors to wander through the commemorative galleries and participate in a few moments of personal reflection.
At 6:40 am the Cantare Choir from Westlake Girls and the Macleans College Chorale will usher in the dawn with some beautifully evocative performances in the WWI Hall of Memories, followed at 8:30 am by a poignant performance by the Auckland Youth Choir.
Elsewhere, the museum will have poetry readings by the finalists in their Lest We Forget poetry competition, guided tours through the history of WWI and WWII, and will provide visitors the opportunity to write a message of peace or hope to the children living in worn-torn countries today (all day in the WWI Hall of Memories).
Get the kids involved
Take some time this ANZAC Day to sit down with your children and talk to them about what the day means to you and why they should care about it too. Perhaps you could get crafty and make your own poppy with them, or download some of the New Zealand Defence Force’s specially-made colouring-in and activity sheets (here), to get them doing something that is as fun as it is educational.
Bake some ANZAC biscuits
A classic ANZAC Day pastime, why not whip up a batch of delightfully chewy bikkies yourself? We have the only recipe you need, right here.
Take the family to Viaduct Harbour
Head down to Viaduct Harbour where O’Hagans and Danny Doolans will both be putting on delicious Sunday meals of pork roast, a pint of house beer and dessert for $24.95 per person. From the warming and hearty food to the charming waterfront location, this is promising the perfect way to spend the afternoon. Poppies and RSA donation boxes will also be available on site.