Anzac Day services at Gallipoli in Turkey have been cancelled due to Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the cancellations in a statement this morning.
Gallipoli is the biggest overseas Anzac Day commemoration New Zealand jointly runs with Australia.
The cancellation covers the Anzac Dawn Service, the Australian Lone Pine Service and the New Zealand Service at Chunuk Bair.
“It is with deep sadness the decision has been made by both the Australian and New Zealand Governments to cancel this year’s Anzac services at Gallipoli,” Ms Ardern said.
“The Gallipoli services in particular have become a pilgrimage of sorts for many New Zealanders. But with global travel restrictions and isolation requirements in place in most countries it is simply not practical to hold this year’s event,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Ms Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have been in direct contact about the decision.
“Cancellation of an Anzac Day commemoration, and in particular Gallipoli, is something we would normally consider unimaginable, given the reverence in which we hold our ancestors who made the ultimate sacrifice there. But then these are unimaginable times and just as they sought to protect our people, so must we,” Minister of Defence Ron Mark said.
No decisions on domestic Anzac Day commemorations have been made yet.