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A ritual of remembrance

Dawn services, red poppies and Anzac biscuits all mark an exceptionally important day in New Zealand’s history. Toast explores another lesser-known Anzac commemoration ritual

April 25th 1916 was a day like no other in New Zealand. A day of solitude, a day of remembrance, a day of pride and a day of sorrow. It was the first time Anzac Day was marked after World War I, a year after Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed at Gallipoli, Turkey – the site where New Zealand’s first major battle of World War One took place. The site where over 2700 Kiwis lost their lives.

Hundred years on, and the day remains just as poignant for Kiwis as we remember and honour the solidiers and servicemen and women from World War I.

This time of remembrance and honour takes many forms which we know well: dawn services, Anzac biscuits and red poppies. But one tradition we don’t hear so much about is the Gunfire Breakfast ­– an event hosted by RSAs after Anzac services nationwide.

The Gunfire Breakfast is traditionally either a hearty cooked breakfast or an Anzac biscuit served after Anzac Dawn Services alongside a drink of coffee laced with rum. Coffee with rum – known as a “gunfire” drink – is served as a nod to the past as soldiers received a tot of rum as a pre-battle ration during war.

The breakfast is held as a time to reflect and reminisce as veterans, serving personnel and families come together to remember those to whom we owe so much.

If you’d like to reflect and reminisce this Anzac day after the Dawn Service, we’ve put together a recipe for a Gunfire tipple below that you can sip after the Dawn Service to remember, respect and honour a piece of history that will never be forgotten.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
 Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
 At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.

   – Laurence Binyon (1914)

Anzac day Gunfire cocktail

Anzac day Gunfire cocktail

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