As we today mark 100 years since the beginning of World War One, we remember a time of grief and loss which defined New Zealand as a nation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.
“The Great War broke and refashioned so many ideas of who we are. It hurled humanity into the modern era and gave birth to a new international age.
“It was a time of great loss and a century later the sheer weight of that loss remains with us. Of more than 100,000 New Zealanders sent to war, nearly one-sixth were killed and more than 40,000 wounded. That was a heavy toll from a country of just over a million people.
“The effects of World War One rippled through the country; farms were left empty, families were forever damaged by the loss of fathers, husbands and brother.
“Out of that loss grew a new way of thinking about ourselves as a nation. We learnt to value our sense of independence, our uniqueness and our drive for self-determination. We became an independent nation.
“From the beaches of Anzac Cove to the barbed wire fence-strewn fields of the Western Front, we remember and celebrate our troops and those who supported them.
“It was called the ‘war to end wars’ but sadly the horrors of war are still as apparent as ever.
“Today we not only remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in World War One but those who are currently dying and suffering in Gaza, Israel, Syria, the Ukraine and Central Africa,” David Cunliffe says.