11 Nov 2015

97th anniversary of Armistice Day marked

8:32 pm on 11 November 2015

Armistice Day commemorations have been held throughout the country today, marking the 97th anniversary of the signing of the treaty that ended the World War I.

People gathered at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington on Armistice Day, 2015

People gathered at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington on Armistice Day, 2015. Photo: RNZ/Tiana Barns

The Allies and the German forces signed the Armistice treaty at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

About 100 people marked the occasion at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington, where ferns were placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

Wreaths were laid by the Veteran Affairs Minister Craig Foss on behalf of the Government and the Labour leader Andrew Little on behalf of the opposition.

Nearly 17,000 New Zealanders died and 40,000 others were wounded in the World War I - a higher per capita casualty rate than any other country involved.

A scene on Armistice Day, May 24 1915

A scene on Armistice Day, 24 May 1915, in front of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles at the Nek, Gallipoli. Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library Ref: PA1-o-811-23-3.

New Zealand Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Tim Keating said it was important to remember those who fought in the war.

"I think that we should as a nation take the time whether it's Anzac Day or to reflect on significant occasion like this," he said.

"We should take the time out of our busy day and think about the sacrifice that our forebears made."

Veteran Affairs Minister Craig Foss said the day was significant to the country.

Members of the NZDF saluting at Armistice Day commemorations in Auckland in 2015

Members of the NZDF salute at the commemorations in Auckland. Photo: RNZ/Kim Baker-Wilson

"It's a humbling moment and proud moment as well. A moment of acknowledgement. We would not be here whatsoever if it wasn't for what these soldiers did for New Zealand so many years ago."

"They will never be forgotten. The memories continue and the values have been adhered to. Even some families that perhaps forgot or didn't know to much are perhaps re-learning about their whakapapa or their ancestors or their great-grandfathers."

Navy personal at Armistice Day commemorations in Auckland.

Navy personnel at Armistice Day commemorations in Auckland. Photo: RNZ/Kim Baker-Wilson

For the first time, Bay of Plenty tribe Tūhoe also commemorated Armistice Day at Rewarewa Marae in Ruatoki.

Seventy-five men from Te Rohe Pōtae o Tūhoe enlisted to fight in World War I and 56 served overseas.

In Auckland, about 200 military personnel and members of the public were part of commemorations.

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