Defence Minister, Andrew Little, will depart New Zealand today to attend Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in Türkiye.
At Gallipoli, the Defence Minister will attend the Dawn Service and the New Zealand National Service at Chunuk Bair. He will also take part in a special ceremony of rededication and remembrance at the New Zealand ‘Maori Pah’ site on the Gallipoli Peninsula where an information panel will be unveiled.
“It has now been 108 years since the ANZAC Corps landings during the First World War. Of the 17,000 Kiwi soldiers who fought, almost 5,000 were wounded. Almost 2,700 never came home,” Mr Little said.
“Each year, on Anzac Day, New Zealanders recall Gallipoli in honour of everyone who has served in our defence forces, including those who wear the uniform today. It’s the opportunity for all of us to recognise our fellow citizens who train in order to run towards danger to protect us.
“Gallipoli also represents an eternal reminder to all of humanity to strive for a more peaceable and secure world. In the immortal words of modern Türkiye’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, ‘there is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here’,” he said.
While overseas, Mr Little will attend the regular Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Germany, consisting of ministers and chiefs of defence from around 50 countries actively supporting Ukraine’s self-defence efforts in response to Russia’s illegal invasion.
He will also visit the New Zealand Defence Force deployment in Jordan, as well as meet with counterparts in that region to discuss regional security and stability.
The Minister will return to New Zealand on 1 May.