Tomorrow will be the first time since Anzac Day services began in 1916 that new Zealanders won’t be able to attend mass gatherings to commemorate our defence personnel killed in war and those who have returned from service.
Historian Dr Stephen Clarke says there's still much New Zealanders can do to pay our respects from the safety of our bubbles.
“We have to reach out virtually in a sense to make sure that they know that their service is recognised,” he says.
He says families can take part in activities like making their own poppies, cooking Anzac biscuits as well as New Zealand’s Stand At Dawn on Anzac Day.
As part of Stand At Dawn New Zealanders are being asked to commemorate Anzac Day while staying safely in our bubbles in the doorway, front porch, window or balcony at 6am tomorrow.
“The more people do that at 6am the more that sense of community, keeping within our bubbles, but that will be something very special,” says Clarke.
Lay a digital poppy with Auckland War Memorial Museum
Clarke says people can lay a virtual poppy and leave messages for loved ones who have served as well as read stories about returned service people at the Auckland Museum’s Online Cenotaph.
Auckland Museum Chief Executive Dr David Gaimster says, “Last year over 90,000 digital poppies were laid on the Roll of Honour on the Online Cenotaph.
Photo / Auckland Council
Teddies wear poppies
Teddy bears in windows have also become a beacon of unity in New Zealand neighbourhoods.
For Anzac Day, families have been asked if they would like to make a poppy for the teddy bears to wear on their lapel, or dress the window itself in something red.
In the week before and after Anzac Day, bear hunts will bring poignant new meaning.
As whānau walk with children around the block and notice poppy-wearing teddies in neighbourhood windows, they might take time to tell the stories of their own war-time heroes and convey the significance of this day for New Zealand.
Share a photo of your Anzac bear in the window on Instagram: #AnzacBearAKL - Photo / Auckland Council
Karakia and waiata
Mentor to the former executive 28 Māori Battalion Board Matt Te Pou says whanau can singing waiata, recite karakia and do a speech to remember our own tīpuna, he says.
“We can actually reside them to the rest of our whanau in the bubble."
Every Anzac Day New Zealanders have a strong presence at memorials around the world, including at Gallipoli.
Clarke says the head gardener over at Gallipoli has been taking photos of all the New Zealand cemeteries and putting them up on his Twitter feed, knowing that New Zealanders will miss not being there this year.
“It’s looking magnificent as all those Commonwealth war graves cemeteries always are. They do fantastic job. And it’s more than a job, it’s a passion and a love.”
Commonwealth war graves cemetery - Twitter / Burak Gündoğan.
Clarke says he looks forward to next year when New Zealand should be able to gather together again on Anzac Day.