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Chris Trotter takes a look at our relationship with Anzac Day and wonders whether it could be caught up by changes in the teaching of New Zealand history

Chris Trotter takes a look at our relationship with Anzac Day and wonders whether it could be caught up by changes in the teaching of New Zealand history

By Chris Trotter*

Nicholas Boyack's controversial commentary piece for Stuff is a harbinger of historical controversies to come. Published just 48 hours before Anzac Day’s dawn parades, Boyack’s “We need an honest debate on Gallipoli and a fresh approach to history”, offers an unashamedly revisionist take on the Gallipoli landings. Not surprisingly, it aroused powerful emotions in Stuff’s readers.

Predictably, many of these emotions reflected the affronted nationalism of adherents to the official version of the Anzac story. More interesting, however, were the responses signalling sympathy with Boyack’s anti-imperialistic views.

With the current government strongly committed to overseeing a revolution in the teaching of New Zealand history, Boyack’s Anzac bombshell looks set to be just the first of many such attacks on our national myths. There are few individuals more subversive of the status quo than historians on a mission.

All nations need myths: common narratives – usually heroic, or tragic, or both – with which to bind their citizens to the state with just the right mixture of awe, pity, gratitude and pride. New Zealand’s historical myths were initially crafted to instil loyalty to the imperial British mission, and have maintained a remarkably tenacious grip on the public imagination. The second great wave of national myth making gathered strength in the 1950s and 60s and was aimed at inculcating a robust faith in New Zealand’s “progressive” impulses – the reforms that made “little New Zealand” the “social laboratory of the world”. The grip of this second iteration of “New Zealand-ness” turned out to be considerably weaker than the first.

The proof of the imperial mythology’s enduring strength has just been presented to us in the impressive numbers once-again turning out for the traditional Anzac dawn parades. The devotion of the young to the Anzac Myth has perplexed and delighted not only traditional historians, but the entire New Zealand political class.

It was, after all, the young New Zealanders of the 1970s and 80s who had offered up the first serious challenges to the monolithic imperial mythology of the “RSA Generation”. Provoked, at least initially, by New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War, Anzac revisionism soon expanded into a critique of the deeply-ingrained conservative values, and limited political vision, of the taciturn Kiwi blokes who returned from World War II. The fear was that as those with personal memories of the First and Second World Wars became fewer and fewer the Anzac spirit would also march away, shoulder-to-shoulder, with their ghosts.

The Scotsman-turned-Aussie songwriter, Eric Bogle, summed-up this anxiety in his famous song about Gallipoli “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”.

And so now every April, I sit on me porch
And I watch the parades pass before me
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reviving old dreams of past glories
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore
They’re tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, “what are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question

But the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday no one will march there at all

Except, astonishingly, the thinning ranks of the world war veterans were filled by their children, grandchildren and, by 2021, their great-grandchildren. The Baby Boom generation may have been sceptical of Anzac Day and what it stood for, but Generation X et seq embraced the Gallipoli myth with a passion that was little short of embarrassing. The question is: Why?

Much of the answer is doubtless bound up with the dramatic social and economic transformations of the 1980s and 90s. The free-market reforms that characterised the political histories of both Australia and New Zealand during that critical period effectively put paid to the “progressive” mythologies of the Anzac “brothers” – represented most forcefully by the Labour governments of Gough Whitlam and Norman Kirk.

Globalisation was an important part of the sales pitch of their successors, Bob Hawke and David Lange, and their respective finance ministers, Paul Keating and Roger Douglas. The only problem being that a political project based on giving de-regulated capitalism its head is extremely difficult to reconcile with the tightly regulated capitalism of the social-democratic Australia and New Zealand which Hawke and Lange were in the process of sweeping away. With the costumes of “progressive nationalism” now passé, the Anzac brothers had little other recourse but to reach into the depths of their national memory chests for the imperial paraphernalia of an even older era.

That the Anzac nations did not emerge from this re-invention exercise wearing pretty much the same clobber is due to New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy. Cold-shouldered by Canberra and Washington, and scolded by the British, New Zealand’s embrace of the old imperial myths was tempered by its new status as the scourge of the English-speaking nuclear powers. For a while, at least, this gave to New Zealand’s Anzac Day commemorations a decidedly Blackadder Goes Forth flavour. While the Aussies become increasingly jingoistic (to the point of almost forgetting what the “nz” in Anzac stands for) the Kiwis played up the horror and tragedy of war.

Unfortunately for the New Zealand political class, that doesn’t really work. Play up the horror and tragedy of war too poignantly and people cannot avoid questioning the point of going to war at all. Moreover, it’s only a short step from recognising the futility of war to grasping, as Nicholas Boyack does so persuasively in his commentary, the less-than-honourable motivations of the imperial politicians who refused to stop the war; and the willingness of New Zealand’s politicians to trade so much blood for butter.

And so it is that the rattle of imperial harness has become more and more a feature of Anzac Day commemorations. Youngsters, in particular, will declaim proudly on how the Anzacs went to war for “freedom” and “democracy”, rather than to strengthen the Mother Country’s grip on the oil reserves of the Middle East. One is moved to wonder if the new and compulsory New Zealand history curriculum will appraise these young New Zealanders of the fact that the wartime government of William Massey considered it advisable to lock up freedom and democracy for the duration: conscripting socialist MPs and subjecting the Christian pacifist, Archibald Baxter, to the torture of “Field Punishment No.1”

“It is time for a national debate on our history, focusing on what we can do to lift the standard in schools and universities” says Nicholas Boyack. “We also need to stop peddling myths about Gallipoli and New Zealand nationalism, and take a more honest approach to our history.”

Ah, yes, but that will entail emulating the sorcerer in Aladdin who offered new lamps for old. And when our historians set about exchanging old national myths for brand new ones, who knows what sort of genies will be summoned forth – or what they will be asked to do?

*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. He writes a weekly column for His work may also be found at

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Who is to say Boyack’s fable is worthy, casual readers are asking why would you frame the story & exclude..

Biden Calls Slaughter Of Armenians A Genocide, Posing Test For U.S. Ties With Turkey

This "forgetfulness" by Stuff seems a determined error, and more a nudge to national thinking.

Reading msm, there needs a mental health warning.


Henry. My grandfather served in Dunsterforce in 1918, an embryonic SAS /Long range desert type volunteer unit. It penetrated from Iraq through modern day Iran aiming to attack the oil fields at Baku. He was wounded multiple times in fierce fighting with Turkish forces but survived. Alongside him fought survivors from the earlier massacre of at least 1m Armenians by the Turkish government. A frightful genocide it denies to this day. He heard the first hand accounts of this slaughter from these Armenian soldiers but was to witness himself the horrific aftermath of a second genocide against Turkeys Assyrian Christian community when Dunsterforce encountered the traumatised survivors fleeing. The starvation, disease and horrors of these people left an indelible impression on even this kiwi soldier, hardened by earlier heavy front line action in France and Belgium.

Precious little to congratulate ourselves here. Anzac Day is has become an unwitting political rally of sorts.
We're starting to ape the nationalism of the ozzies.


Tim. I disagree. Some may experience their Anzac Day observations as nationalistic pride and participation in a political rally but I suspect the majority don't and are instead in simple sombre remembrance and respect mode. Members of my extended family are buried on European battlefields, others returned home physically maimed; my own 8th army father was invalided back from North Africa, my mother suffered severe emotional trauma from her wartime service. One product of this was significant dysfunction in my upbringing, the effects of which I deal with to this day. ANZAC is a day of deep reflection for me, with notions of the conflicts defining our identity as NZrs or some sort of patriotic razzmatazz event, repugnant.

Yeah I always think my great uncle Dick who served in both WW I and II. Very selfless lot in those days.

Just very weary of the glorification. I don't believe the old people would appreciate it.


I think young people are moved by the idea of such a profound sacrifice; in a way, whether the cause was justified in the final analysis is not the point. And while the war generations were social conformists, they basically built all our infrastructure and raised their children in a prosperous social democracy.
Those children, of course, decided to sell it all off, and have never shown the slightest inclination to sacrifice anything for the future.

Yes its interesting how a generation of people who were so selfless good produce a generation who were so selfish.

I became a soldier so my son could become a merchant and my grandson an artist?


I wonder what future generations will think of current mythology? A young generation sacrificed by their imperial masters, compared to a young generation being sacrificed for globalist ideology, hellbent on extracting every useful resource as rapidly as possible, while crowing about "progress"and "growth".

Well i find Boyack's piece pretty disgusting. Asking for an honest debate he proceeds into a unnecessary and obvious hypothetical equivalence and carries to create straw mans (ANZAC day was never a celebration of imperialism) and attack around the edges because his main point so distasteful and weak. Never mentioning the shared tragedy was part of the path that led to independence from British rule.
Stuff published this 2 days before ANZAC day, have they got a goal when they have burnt everything down or are they just trying to copy their US peers and feel good for trying. I'm guessing Stuff commissioned it too as some of it seems a little forced and not something to be proud enough of to ask to publish it.
(If you want to make the argument that people getting dunk and taking selfies in Turkey might be missing the point of the day that's a different column.)


when australians have one minutes silence on remembrance day,its observed everywhere,in shopping malls etc;i dont think they are motivated by imperial mythology but by gratitude for the sacrifices made to stop the japs because they were knocking on the door.

Indeed, these articles seem out of step with reality. If the Axis powers were not stopped aborad we would have ended up fighting them on our own streets one day.

Oil? Too early I think. From memmory the first British battle ship to use oil was HMS Queen Elizabeth which entered service the same year the Gallipoli campaign started, 1915. Even more widely among all capital ships HMS Invincible was the first to use oil in 1909 so most of the fleet where still predominantly coal powered. Looking at the price of oil as well it hadn't yet ramped up much at the start of 1915. In fact throughout that war it only doubled.

Food prices and scarcity where a major problem however and Russia was the largest exporter of grain at the time, the Dardanelles was about the only realistic option to open supply lines as the Baltic was held by Germany and Murmansk has too many logistical challenges.

well over 400,000 British & French troops. About 65,000 ANZAC troops. Australia & New Zealand were obviously something of a supplementary force and in some aspects some of their civilians fail to understand that their soldiers did not solely “own” the campaign. Leaving aside the Boer War, as a Commonwealth or Empiric thingy you might say, the landing, ill conceived and ill fated, was on that day the entrance onto the world stage of armed conflict for both of our countries jointly. To my mind as good a day as any if to remember and respect the sacrifices and losses then and what was to follow. Perhaps it is as basic as that, perhaps it just needs to be kept as basic as that.

Australians and New Zealand colonial forces fought in the Boxer Rebellion as well before the the Great War.

FG. Yes, the way younger NZrs have been led by media to think that Gallipoli was a predominately NZ/AUS show is touchingly naive. To 'conceived' and 'fated', I'd add ill executed. The English troops suffered just as badly as did the ANZACs from incompetent english command. On a personal note, my wifes grandfather was twice wounded on Gallipoli, the second time by an exploding Turkish grenade necessitating evacuation to the UK. Where he was cared for by a young english nurse whom he courted from his sickbed and who became my wifes grandmother.

Nice touch. Bravo!

Even if Oil was important in WW1, or if we used WW2 as an example, fighting to retain control of that oil is not imperialist but rather strategically crucial in defeating the Central powers in WW1 or the Axis powers in WW2, the whole premise is bunk.

I think we should detach ourselves from Australia in remembrance of the WW1. I know for a fact from my grandfather's reluctantly given accounts of his experiences from over 3 years on the Western Front what the Aussies were really like: he was on the battalions ammunition column (interspersed with spells on the mortars when they needed replacements for casualties); he summed up the Aussies as persistent looters of the New Zealanders' supplies from ammunition to rations ; my grandfather called them "thieving ratbags". He never again liked Australians throughout his life. And he never had a bad word to say about the German soldier...he said they were in exactly the same helpless circumstances as he was: cannon fodder for the powers that be.
We now know that more than any other factor it was Kaiser Wilhelm 11's congenital shoulder defect that caused him in compensation for this embarrassment to become fanatically militaristic and thus lead the Germans into WW1. ( Kaiser Wilhelm 11 was the British Queen Victoria's grandson!!!!! ).
Over the years since, New Zealand has made the mistake of prominently honouring those who fought in Gallipoli, that disastrous embarrassing defeat and retreat, at the expense of the much larger numbers of those New Zealanders who fought on the Western Front and the tens of thousand who became casualties there. Let's face it, Gallipoli was a mere side show by comparison.
For instance, how many New Zealanders know today that on one occasion on the Western Front a whole company, the "Otago's'', consisting of 240 men, were sent up an open road by the British command to test the enemy strength: every single man was killed by German machine gun fire. Where is the honouring and mythology created from this one episode; we have forgotten it.
Over the years Australia has done its best to downplay NZ's role in the Anzac tradition and claim any glory for themselves. And Aussie claims about their daring air exploits in WW2 just don't stack up when you look at the statistics. Take the nationality of pilot participants in the crucial Battle of Britain:
British: around 360
Polish: 133
New Zealand: 103
Australia: 33
Canada: 36

You only have to look at how the Aussies are bulling us now to see their true nature shining through. And it's obvious that the much-touted travel bubble will benefit Australia more than New Zealand.

Streetwise. Sound like you may not have heard of 'Freybergs 40,000 thieves' which is a label given to the NZ div by other allied forces in Africa. My old man told us of legendary raids on the stores of other 'friendlies', the justification being that NZ forces were often under supplied compared to them. We still have a photo he took of his company trucks backed up to a british supply train that had been shot up by the Luftwaffe. Getting in before the poms arrived. All 'fair game' to the kiwis.

And the marines in the Pacific. Astonishing thieves and distillers of anything boilable. My father recounted the theft of Thompson sub machine guns from the newly arrived US Army’s armoury at Guadalcanal, even before the US Army knew they were getting them.

Yup. The Weimar Yoof project is alive and doing well in wokey lil ole NZ. I suppose I should call it the 'Social Engineering' experiment going on with the Mel'Z' generations.

They've been bamboozled for a decade or two with massive amounts of information coming at them from the 'net', and a poorly designed(crafted) education system that's programmed them all to believe information only from their own widdle bubbles and the like.

Ignore all history with a few exceptions, however, now and then pay homage to pieces of 'ancient' history that are so insignificant to them that they're hardly relevant to them and their world today.

If only they were to remember when the great empires collapsed one hundred years ago and the failed states and governments were removed by the undercurrents of the day .... which are again playing out all around the world now, today.

History Matters. If only they were taught that in school.

Empire = multi-national & multi-cultural. WW1 was the death of many empires (British, German, French, Dutch, Ottoman, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Portugese - all mortally wounded though some didn't realise it). The death of an Empire meant a birth of nations; too many to name after WW1. Also the true birth of Australia and New Zealand - inhabitants went from a sort of local pride to a genuine sense of national identity.
That's my explanation for joining the Anzac parade yesterday despite being just an immigrant pommie. Never dreamt of attending a rememberance ceremony in England and neither did anyone I knew.

If ANZAC day was nostalgia for Empire then rememberance day in the UK would be bigger than in NZ and it certainly isn't.
Isn't ANZAC day a celebration of nationhood and the size of the celebration reflects the subconcious threat to National traditions by a very heavy rate of immigration and emigration? But I'm pleased to note many immigrants like my self at our ANZAC commemorations.

Boyack's piece is hardly 'controversial'. Expressions of incredulity about it from uninformed generations subverted by a jingoistic Gallipoli narrative of worthy sacrifice to a noble cause, do not constitute genuine controversy. The blatant reality of simple super power raw nationalistic ambition futilely colliding on an obscure Dardanelles battlefield is well established among thinking people. No serious student of history would disagree with Boyack's key propositions. It is 'revisionist' only to romantic story tellers and their gullible audiences.

Some time ago an academic, Massey if I remember rightly and junior at that, chose to discredit the VC of NZr Warrant Officer A C Hulme. Supposed point of contention was that Clive Hulme had donned a German paratrooper’s smock during fierce close quarter fighting. In one of the finest examples of New Zealand journalism I have ever read, Rosemary McLeod debunked and dispatched that claim. Should have kept a copy but recall the salient last line something like, that opinions on those matters are best left to those that were there

FG. Hulme wearing German uniform as a disguise was a serious breaking of a widely held convention back then. On the spot execution a legitimate punishment under International law as the germans found out when they did the same in the battle of the bulge. But Hulme carried out other courageous exploits deserving of a medal while in NZ battledress. He was however something of a flamboyant character, enjoying the limelight and accolades that came with being a hero which didn't sit well with the establishment who considered an Upham style reticent personality more 'appropriate'. He's always had his detractors.

By that time the rule book had been blown asunder. Knowledge of Le Paradis and forecast of likely repeats, eg a la Malmedy, a reasonably good precedent to take whatever actions necessary and available.

And before that, the controversy about wearing camouflage. Only cowards hide, real men marched forward in their red uniforms with white bandoliers and helmets and kept their line no matter how many fell around them, and didn't dare return fire until ordered to do so.

After talking to New Zealanders, Australians, British, Irish, Germans, Italians etc. almost every country has issues understand the 'why' of the Great War. I think that might be because there was a profound shift in the way people thought about militarism, nationalism, imperialism, royalty etc. after that conflict. The views of people entering the Great War where very different to those of people today, almost irreconcilably so given the lack of context many start out with about the complexities that had accrued.

Good comment. My father says much the same after WW2 with rejection of the aristocrat officer class and strong move towards egalitarian socialism. That was the UK - I haven't caught up with NZ history for that period.

Yeah, unfortunately in the UK this has lead to it being seen as a pointless war. More because people don't understand what the point was rather than because there wasn't one.

maybe it is just another provocative piece from stuff in the vein of their "our truth"series,where their journalists are tasked with digging up old grievances that feature exploitation or persecution by the crown and reflects the viewpoint of the editor and owner,who if they have been welcomed here as migrants and educated here,should consider a "bite the hand that feeds you" series.

I made a comment about western foreign policy and exceptionalism. And it gets deleted, who's running this forum? Please explain.

You must have touched a nerve mate. Personally I think about all the wars at this time of the year. Unfortunately I feel there is much glorification rather than pure remembrance these days. Not sure how long it will go on for, everything has a limit. Unless your were there, the horrors are unimaginable. We should remember for no other reason than a reminder it should never be allowed to happen again.

I detected no glorification at Birkenhead ceremony yesterday 10am. A general air of sadness. Maybe puzzled admiration for what a previous generation had endured.

A great post.
"puzzled admiration for what a previous generation had endured" - and any attempt at explaining why will not justify the past but rather simply raise an awareness to question in the future.

Was, accidental delete. Double up post.

Was Turkey at Gallipoli? I thought they were troops of the Ottoman empire. Ataturk, who was a military leader at Gallipoli, did not found Turkey until after the war when the Ottoman empire was broken up. But disregarding that, during the First World War, NZ and Australia saw themselves as British. If you had a passport, it was British.
We can't try to put a 21st Century spin on the facts. That is why modern history of the past is stupid. You can only judge by the attitudes and actions of the times. The people involved might to us seem racist and sexist, but judged by the mores of the time, they weren't.

"Johnny Turk" was certainly there - any ANZAC Gallipoli veteran would attest.
Turkey was first recorded in Middle English (as Turkye, Torke, later Turkie, Turky), attested in Chaucer, ca. 1369. The Ottoman Empire was commonly referred to as Turkey or the Turkish Empire at the time. (Wikipedia)

Passports were not commonly required for travel prior to World War 1 and until after WW1 few countries issued them. Passports became mandatory in the UK from 1915 and later that year the first standardised NZ passports were issued.

I agree that past actions can not be judged on the values of today . . . and those values of today are likely to be different to those of the future.

In WW1 Kiwis with British passports but 2nd class to Brits? Today Cook Islanders have NZ passport but are not in the NZ Covid-19 bubble. History repeats itself. Do Cook Islanders think of themselves as New Zealanders?


Anzac day has become an embarassing competition of #metoo bullshit. I stopped going when I saw remote relatives taking a smiling selfie of themselves next to a servicemans plaque, and people wearing their ancestors service medals. You didn't die, you just got up early. If you genuinely want to pay your respects to the brave few, do it when no one is watching. Wars aren't something to be celebrated. Most men who have served on the front line in major conflicts just want to forget about it and get on with their lives when they get home.

Don’t disagree that many of those that served would sooner not have remembered what they encountered. And if I may develop that point. My father marched and then attended every dawn service while he still could. That was because he wanted to be in an unspoken sense , shoulder to shoulder with fellow servicemen, servicewomen as a matter of respect for them and for those who could no longer be there. That was a sacred time and right, for all of them. And certainly the atmosphere and solemnity of the occasion, was very different to that of today. My father just would not even begin to understand selfies and such like as you describe. There it is.

Somebloke. I get your point and at the personal level relate to the sentiments you express but gently suggest you are perhaps being a bit unfair. Yes, some of the behaviours are a bit tawdry but many of those (usually) younger people don't share your clearly deep understanding of the wars. But they are just expressing what they feel within the context of their own limited understandings and in the ( sometimes gauche) modes they are most familiar with. I like the idea of my grandchildren proudly wearing the medals of their great grand parents to ANZAC parades. They become interested, want to discuss history, the cause of conflicts and the nasty brutish reality of war. Which surely is a great thing.

Exactly Somebloke that was what I was referring to in my previous post as glorification. I did not want to mention it but I had a flatmate who wore all his grandfathers medals to Anzac day which I thought was disgusting. Medals are only to be worn by those that were presented with them. Really that person should have been buried with their medals out of respect.

I disagree with you here Carlos. The medals were a moment of recognition for being involved in and perhaps acting with merit in war. They are historic monuments and connect the living with those who have passed on. As others have commented, having great-grand-children wear those medals is significant in that they understand their lineage served and suffered as part of their duty to them.

While I understand your point Somebloke, I think you are just referring to a very small group.

As to the bigger point I do agree that ANZAC Day should expand to remember much more, and include those who died in other wars, including the NZ wars, Maori and others. But we should not only remember those who died but also those who survived, for many of them returned broken, if not in body, in spirit as a consequence of what they experienced. Those scars are not borne easily, nor are they well understood by those who haven't shared the experience.

And we should question our politicians who would seek to commit troops to a conflict. Helen Clark and Phil Goff were both protesters on the front lines when our troops returned from Vietnam, but as university students studying politics, while blaming the troops for being there, they should have known it was the Government who sent them. In later life they both effectively disarmed our military, and soon after committed it to other conflicts. And at the same time they were denying those Vietnam vets the care they had earned and deserved from the consequences of their service in that conflict. Their (the politicians) behaviour and actions towards our service people is unconscionable, and shameful.

And there is more, Corrections staff daily face violence in our prisons, putting their mental and physical well being at risk to protect our communities but receive very little recognition for what they face, unlike the Fire Fighters and ambos.

We need to have this debate to ensure the people of today fully understand the price that we pay for the freedoms and privileges that are taken so much for granted.

Anzac day has become an embarassing competition of #metoo bullshit. I stopped going when I saw remote relatives taking a smiling selfie of themselves next to a servicemans plaque, and people wearing their ancestors service medals. You didn't die, you just got up early. If you genuinely want to pay your respects to the brave few, do it when no one is watching. Wars aren't something to be celebrated. Most men who have served on the front line in major conflicts just want to forget about it and get on with their lives when they get home.

For Kiwis, a lasting cultural sporting value from Gallipoli (and Passchendaele) is that rather than losing, it is more important that one competed to the best of one’s ability and pride can be taken in that.

"Generation X et seq embraced the Gallipoli myth with a passion that was little short of embarrassing. The question is: Why?"
The more simple answer is that Anzac Day was always for the benefit of Europeans who dislike Wogs, and Europeans of that ilk are represented in every generation. However, it would be wrong to overstate the depth or extent of this sentiment. If the city of Wellington can only muster 10,000 then we have little cause to worry for the future of our nation.
There can be no disputing that the colonial regime chose to make Anzac Day its de facto Army Day precisely because it commemorated the failed invasion of a Middle Eastern state. The wars with Germany were of far greater moment and created casualties that were an order of magnitude greater but the colonial regime always was and remains uncomfortable with the notion of European nations making war upon each other. There is no embarrassment with respect to Turkey and the Turks. They are Wogs after all, as are the Japanese, Chinese Malays, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans and virtually every other nation or people that the Realm of New Zealand has been called on to fight in the past seventy years.
So Gallipoli fits, and Anzac Day fits, in a way that, say VE day, would not.
Anzac Day also fits because it assumes an imperial hierarchy, in which New Zealand is subordinate to Australia, and Australia and New Zealand together exist to advance the interests of the mother country, Great Britain.
Nicholas Boyack's view is nothing new. Most of our people know the reality of New Zealand's wars, including the war against Turkey. The Gallipoli myth is solely perpetrated by the regime itself, either directly or through its mass media and the only people who subscribe to it are, to be precise, Europeans who dislike Wogs.

Perhaps that explains why then our must successful rugby team, next level down from the national team, was called The Crusaders, and still is.

The entire world was colonised or managed by the UK or Europe (itself a fragmented leftover from the Roman Empire) not so long ago.
Now we see Western countries almost turn against themselves with no core centre of values or historical allegiance.
ANZAC Day has become a kind of default state religion in the absence of other religion/history/rituals.

The New Zealand state and society has become overtly secular where it was once tacitly Christian, and as the religious significance of festivals such as Christmas and Easter have declined, the state has put greater weight and emphasis upon the Anzac Day commemorations.
However the choice of Anzac Day as supposedly representative of the "national identity", rather than say, Labour Day, Waitangi Day or Matariki, reflects what is specific in the character of the New Zealand state. That is, the colonialist state wants New Zealand and New Zealanders to continue to serve the Five Eyes alliance in its military incursions into and confrontations with non-European nations. It is not as though the state was casting around for something to fill the gap left by the social decline of Christianity and randomly settled on Anzac Day as a suitable point of focus.
The elevation of Anzac Day is an intrinsic part of a broader political agenda designed to keep New Zealand within the Five Eyes alliance. The problem is that despite what Chris has to say above most New Zealanders do not believe that their nation exists for the purpose of making war on wogs, and the changing demographic makeup of New Zealand society means that colonialism is no longer a sustainable basis for the state and society.

Deleted by author

I think that it may be interesting to consider the true historical Australian perspective on Gallipoli, and patriotism.
Initially the Australians were all very patriotic and all very keen to enlist. As the truth of what happened at Gallipoli filtered back to the Australian public, the government had trouble getting people to enlist. Accordingly they wanted to introduced forced conscription but had to hold a referendum before this could be done. The public voted it down. A few years later they voted it down again when the government tried one more time.
I look at the Anzac patriotic fervor in Australia now and see the results of a huge PR effort from the government.
Similarly if you have ever experienced the Australia day celebrations, they are very affecting and again a measure of the effort that their government puts into nation building.
We on the other hand go too far the other way.