One of the best parts about travel is learning about the key events and history in different cultures. New Zealand (as well as Australia) celebrate Anzac Day to honor their fallen soldiers from the First World War, primarily from the Gallipoli campaign. We happened to be traveling through New Zealand during Anzac Day and were able to learn more about it through visiting the Te Papa museum in Wellington. Also, while driving through the town of Hokitika (west coast of south island of New Zealand) we witnessed one of the local ceremonies.
Brief background on Anzac Day (from http://www.anzac.govt.nz/):
On 25 April 1915, eight months into the First World War, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula. This was Turkish territory that formed part of Germany's ally, the Ottoman Empire. The troops were there as part of a plan to open the Dardanelles Strait to the Allied fleets, allowing them to threaten the Ottoman capital Constantinople (now Istanbul) and, it was hoped, force a Turkish surrender. The Allied forces encountered unexpectedly strong resistance from the Turks, and both sides suffered enormous loss of life.
Although Anzac Day, the anniversary of the first day of conflict, does not mark a military triumph, it does remind us of a very important episode in New Zealand's history. Great suffering was caused to a small country by the loss of so many of its young men. But the Gallipoli campaign showcased attitudes and attributes - bravery, tenacity, practicality, ingenuity, loyalty to King and comrades - that helped New Zealand define itself as a nation, even as it fought unquestioningly on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire.
Learn more about the event by clicking the Pinterest links below.