It started with one of New Zealand's most ill-fated military campaigns on the beach at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915, and is now perhaps our most cherished national day.
To mark the launch of Last Post, First Light, we approached five New Zealanders with a close interest in the Anzac spirit to share their feelings about what April 25, Anzac Day, means to them.
Don McIver, national president, Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association
For me, Anzac is about remembering with pride all who gave their lives in conflict. It is about the rich human potential, which our country lost when we lost so many patriots. I remember with gratitude what they achieved and with sorrow the cost of that achievement.
It is about supporting those who have lost their loved ones and those who survive maimed or ill as a result of their service.
As a soldier myself, it is about remembering those I served alongside and the deep and lifelong comradeship born of adversity.
And importantly, it is about pursuing the equal opportunity society for which they fought, one which provides security of future generations, peaceful resolution of conflict, freedom from poverty and hunger, adequate healthcare and education and fair and democratic government.
Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, Chief of Defence Force
Anzac Day means an enormous amount to me personally.
Firstly I recall the huge debt that we owe those that gave their lives so that New Zealand can be what it is today. Anzac Day commemorates not only the bravery of our people, but also what it costs to live by your principles to be free.
I also think of the young men and women who we send to serve our country overseas. They are the veterans that we create every day. They are the people, who like their forebears at Gallipoli, Passchendaele, Korea and Vietnam, bravely go to do their duty in some overseas place that many of them have never been to before.
It is also a day when I reflect on the people we have lost in the past year in tragic circumstances. My thoughts go to their families, friends and loved ones.
Jonathan Brumley, Taranaki schoolboy and winner of this year's Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition, organised by the NZ RSA
For me as a 16-year-old boy, the Anzac spirit symbolises what commitment, determination and dedication can achieve.
The spirit of the Anzacs can provide young people with inspiration in their own day to day lives. The Anzacs were mostly young males not much older than me and I am humbled by their sheer courage and heroism.
We may no longer have wars to fight as they did but we can draw on their experiences and sacrifices to provide inspiration to help us to give back to our own communities and make them as proud of us as we are of them.
Just thinking about the battles they fought, the horror and hardship they went through makes me want to be a better person.
Lieutenant General the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand
April 25 is a day when we pause to remember the Anzacs, who stepped into our history when they went ashore at Gallipoli in a campaign that claimed the lives of more than 2700 New Zealanders.
Like many Australians and New Zealanders, members of my family served in that ill-fated campaign. Anzac Day is a time when we honour all the men and women who have served New Zealand, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.
It is a day for us to ask how we can continue to give meaning to the values of camaraderie, courage and compassion the Anzac soldiers upheld against such great odds.
As we face the challenges of today, the bravery, commitment and sacrifice of our servicemen and women continues to inspire us.
Vietnam War veteran Pat Duggan of Christchurch
Anzac Day is extremely important. We should never, ever forget it.
The most heartening thing is that young people are taking it on board and are learning the significance of it. We are remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and any sacrifice, in New Zealand and overseas, in time of war - including the Land Army, the Home Guard, etc.
They were as committed as anyone else. Korean veterans felt forgotten. They must be remembered too.
A lesson for Anzac Day is, war is senseless and no way to solve problems.
It's a good message, a positive message. Anzac Day must be positive. Remembering is positive.
- © Fairfax NZ News