Hundreds of people gathered at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington this afternoon for the national ceremony marking the Battle of Passchendaele, described by Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy as the darkest day in our military history.
On October 12, 1917 843 New Zealand soldiers were killed and 1860 wounded in the battle in Belgium during the First World War.
It remains the highest one-day death toll suffered by New Zealand forces overseas, and a further 114 men succumbed to their wounds in the following three months.
The ceremony this afternoon was attended by dignitaries including Belgium's ambassador to New Zealand, who joined Dame Patsy in laying ferns at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior after she had inspected a military guard of honour.
"Today we gather to remember our darkest day in our military history 100 years ago," Dame Patsy said in her address.
"Of all of the battles on the Western Front it is Passchendaele that New Zealanders most associate with the horror of the Great War."
She recalled the number of New Zealanders killed and said generations of New Zealanders have lived with the impact of that loss, "of marriages that never happened, of promising careers cut short, of deep grief that stunted the lives of those left behind".
Following the ceremony a memorial gifted to New Zealand by the Belgian Government at Pukeahu was unveiled.
The daily Last Post was played at the National War Memorial at 5pm and the commemorative programme concluded tonight with a reflective event at Te Papa, featuring the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band.
In Belgium, a number of commemorative events have been held from last week until today which have included the New Zealand Defence Force.