03 May 2015
Speech to the National Party Northern Regional Conference, Waitangi

Chairman Andrew Hunt, President Peter Goodfellow, fellow National party members.

Thank you for that warm welcome.

It’s great to be back home, in New Zealand, and I am delighted to be here in Waitangi for our first regional conference since the last election.

Sometimes that feels like a long time ago!

I was reflecting on the long flight home about the visit, and in particular on both the continued relevance of ANZAC Day and the future potential of our trading relationship with the wealthy Gulf States.

It was a huge privilege to lead our country’s delegation to Gallipoli, and it was an experience that neither Bronagh nor I will ever forget.

And from talking to a good number of our fellow Kiwis who won a place in the ballot and travelled all the way to Turkey, many other people feel the same way.

I felt the same sense of pride reading and watching the news reports of the record numbers attending ANZAC Day services throughout New Zealand.  Not just in the big cities, but in the small towns and regions that make up such an important part of our community.

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26 April 2015
Speech to open of NZ-Dubai Business Seminar at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce

It’s a pleasure to be with you here in Dubai this morning to open this business seminar.

And I’d like to thank the Dubai Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event today.

As you may be aware, I arrived in Dubai last night after attending significant war commemorations in Turkey.

Today marks the beginning of my visit to several Gulf States, and I’d like to thank you for the warm welcome I’ve received.

I’ve wanted to travel to the Gulf States for some time because they are increasingly important economic, political and security partners for New Zealand.

Today I have with me a delegation of senior business leaders from New Zealand who are either already doing business in the Gulf or actively looking to build a presence here.

Building relationships is vital, so I’m looking forward to seeing my counterparts over the next few days and also meeting senior business leaders.

The primary focus of my visit is the economic and trade relationship although I will be discussing other issues along the way too.

When I look at New Zealand’s economic and trade relationship with the Gulf States I see enormous potential to expand and deepen our links.

We come from very different places.

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26 April 2015
Speech at Chunuk Bair

There are places on this peninsula whose names will never be forgotten.

Each country remembers where their soldiers fought, and where they fell.

Places where extraordinary bravery was shown, in unspeakable conditions.

For New Zealanders, nowhere in Gallipoli is more special than here on Chunuk Bair.

It was not the scene of a great triumph.

But it was the closest the Allied forces came to making a breakthrough in the whole Gallipoli campaign.

And it was led by a few hundred Kiwis, 10,000 miles from home.

We are the descendants and countrymen of the New Zealanders who fought and died on this hilltop.

From here we see the terrain that Colonel William Malone and his men in the Wellington Battalion made out as the dawn rose, almost 100 years ago.

We do not come merely as sightseers.

We come to feel closer to those who came here before us, 100 years ago.

By being here, we can imagine them climbing this hill with rifle in hand, squinting in the dark. Alert. Apprehensive.

We can see why this range of hills was so important – it’s the highest ground for many miles.

Australian and New Zealand units began attacking this range, and the approaches to it, on August 6, 1915.

The Auckland Battalion tried to take Chunuk Bair but was forced back with heavy casualties.

Next in line was the Wellington Battalion, but its commanding officer, Colonel Malone, refused to send his men to their certain deaths in a daylight attack.

They waited until night fell.

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25 April 2015
Dawn Service Speech

On this beach, on this day, at this hour, exactly 100 years ago, the first Anzac troops came ashore.

Instead of the open spaces that had been described to them, they landed here with steep hills rising in front of this narrow beach.

And in those hills, Ottoman Turkish soldiers were already positioned and ready to defend this land.

We New Zealanders rarely think of ourselves as anyone’s enemy, or as aggressors.

But that’s exactly how those soldiers would have seen the Anzac and other Allied troops on April 25, 1915, and in the grinding months of fighting that followed.

We have coastlines similar to this at home.

If, for a moment, we imagine the situation reversed, we know that New Zealand soldiers would have been willing to lay down their lives to defend their country.

So, of course, were the Ottoman Turks.             

Time and the perspective of history have cast the Gallipoli campaign, and some of the military decisions that were made, in a different light.

But 100 years ago, both sides were doing what they believed was right, and what they believed was necessary.  

There was something else the Anzac troops landing here at Gallipoli did not know as they first struggled onto this foreign soil.

It was that their bravery and unity would help to forge the Anzac bond and reputation that endures to this day.

I salute that, as I do the bravery of the troops who opposed them, and all those who fought on this peninsula.

The campaign waged here ensured that the name of this place would be written into the histories of New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Turkey, and the many other countries that fought here – never to be erased.

Since then, New Zealanders have fought on many other battlegrounds, with similar courage and tenacity.

Everywhere a New Zealander has died serving our country is part of our history.

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20 April 2015
Dedication of Australian Memorial in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

It is a pleasure and it is also fitting to be here with my Australian counterpart today for the dedication of this magnificent memorial.

This park was opened only two days ago, though its origins date back to 1919 when the government agreed to build a National War Memorial here in Wellington.

It was to be visible from any part of the city, from ships entering the harbour, and from Parliament, so that future governments would remember the sacrifice that had been made in the First World War. 

Since the Carillon opened in 1932, this memorial space has been added to several times and the latest addition is this fine Australian Memorial that we are dedicating today.

We always hoped that our closest friend would be the first country to have its own memorial in our park, and I am delighted that this has now happened.

Five days from now we will stand beside our Australian friends again, but this time at Gallipoli for the 100th commemoration of the first landing by the Anzacs on that ill-fated shore. There will be other significant services around the world, and right here, as well as in Canberra.

The name Gallipoli has become synonymous with acts of great courage, immense hardship and terrible sacrifice on both sides of the campaign.

For New Zealanders and Australians in particular, it is also the symbolic beginning of what we now think of as the Anzac spirit.

I was privileged to be in Albany last November to commemorate the first coming together of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and the Australian Imperial Force – the origins of the Anzacs a hundred years before.

In fact, the bond between our two countries goes back to the early decades of European settlement and we have had close links ever since.

The Anzac spirit has been defined in many ways – mateship, courage, integrity. But what it means in practice is that we can knuckle down and work together anywhere from a solid foundation of mutual trust.

We have a proud history of co-operation in the world’s conflict zones the names of these places are listed on the memorial pillars. They include South Africa, Gallipoli, Northern France, Greece, Crete, North Africa, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and, more recently, Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.

We also collaborate to bring humanitarian relief to disaster zones around our region and beyond. As we speak, we have teams working very closely together in Vanuatu for the Cyclone Pam recovery effort.

And when we are in need ourselves, we are there for each other too.

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