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Ben McKay

Loaned bugle shows bonds, as NZ cancels Anzac service

High winds forced the New Zealand's national Anzac Day service to be moved inside. (Ben McKay/AAP PHOTOS)

In a serendipitous echo of scaled-back observances on the Gallipoli Peninsula, New Zealand's national Anzac Day commemoration has also been curtailed.

Gusts of over 100kmph in Wellington closed the service to the public, forcing the event inside the National War Memorial's Hall of Memories, allowing space for only some dignitaries and officials.

While high winds scotched plans in the Kiwi capital, a world away in Turkey, New Zealand's travelling defence contingent were forced into a rethink of plans due to lost luggage.

However, the 40-strong group were forced into a clothes-swap and to ditch plans to perform music when several bags didn't make it to Turkey after a transit through flood-hit Dubai.

"We are short of band equipment and ceremonial uniforms, including lemon squeezer hats, but contingent members who don't have ceremonial roles have generously given their uniform items to those that do," NZDF Gallipoli lead John McLeod said.

NZDF personnel at the NZ national Anzac Day service
New Zealand Defence Force personnel stand with wreaths at the National War Memorial. (Ben McKay/AAP PHOTOS)

"With a bit of swapping and resizing we have got there."

The NZDF has events at Anzac Cove and nearby Chunuk Bair, where more than 1000 New Zealanders died over three days in 1915.

A slice of Anzac spirit helped along proceedings, with the Australian Defence Force loaning a bugle for the Last Post.

"It has been a case of coming up with solutions to each problem and the contingent have done this really well collectively," Mr McLeod said.

"Morale is high and we have a very positive attitude towards making the commemorations a fitting tribute to those who have walked this ground before us."

Both the services in Turkey and Wellington featured vocalists without accompaniment by NZDF band members; on Gallipoli due to the lost bags, and in the Kiwi capital due to the weather.

Members of the public - and many invited guests including diplomats and councillors - were unable to attend New Zealand's national commemoration due to capacity constraints.

One who made it inside was the chief of Australia's defence force, Angus Campbell, who chose to spend the occasion this year in New Zealand, showing the depth of the Anzac bond.

"It is an honour to spend Anzac Day in New Zealand," General Campbell said.

Anti-war protesters at the National War Memorial in Wellington
About a dozen people staged anti-war protest outside the National War Memorial. (Ben McKay/AAP PHOTOS)

"The Australian Defence Force is proud to continue our long and deep service history alongside our close neighbour and ally, New Zealand, to support a stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region."

Outside the National War Memorial big screens simply displayed messages of the cancellation, leaving the hundreds who had gathered to disperse.

Around a dozen people staged an anti-war protest, holding up a banner which read "No NZ complicity in war and genocide: Free Palestine".

New Zealanders gathered in their thousands earlier on Anzac Day, attending dozens of dawn services across the country.

Prime Minister Chris Luxon was among many at the service at Auckland's Domain.

"Our veterans, we owe so much to," he said.

"They do so much great public service, they step up for New Zealand, past, present and future and they do an incredibly good job and I'm incredibly proud of them."

Four government ministers represented New Zealand at services overseas, including Foreign Minister Winston Peters at Anzac Cove, and Defence Minister Judith Collins in Belgium.

"Standing here at Gallipoli, our words matter less than their deeds. We will never forget what they did here," Mr Peters said.

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