It was a momentous Anzac Day occasion at Go Media Stadium. A capacity crowd gathered, ready to host the largest contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel ever to commemorate Anzac Day anywhere in the world.

The NZDF, One New Zealand Warriors and Auckland Stadiums combined forces on an unprecedented scale for the Warriors’ 2024 Anzac Day encounter with the Gold Coast Titans.

Rugby league fans were treated to ceremonial pomp and pageantry, witnessing the sight of military hardware on the ground and in the air, as well as an appearance from some canine personnel.

It was only the second time the One New Zealand Warriors had hosted the Anzac Day fixture, nine years on from the first occasion which marked the 100-year anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign in 2015.

The association between Anzac Day and New Zealand and Australia’s major sporting codes ran deep, and in particular for the One New Zealand Warriors, who had begun marking Anzac Day with an annual fixture against the Storm in Melbourne in 2009.

From having the New Zealand Army Band leading proceedings on the field, to buglers and a guard of honour taking on ceremonial duties, more than 150 serving personnel were front and centre on one of the country’s largest sporting stages in front of a sold-out crowd.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force A109 helicopter had delivered the match ball in spectacular fashion, touching down on the halfway line before the match. Both the New Zealand & Australian Defence Forces were represented with a flagbearer on the field.

Some of the NZDF’s frontline capabilities were on display at Go Media Stadium, with Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) and the Army’s new armoured Bushmasters available for fans to look at and ask questions of the soldiers who operated them.

Supporters also had the chance to see the NZDF’s military working dogs showcase their incredible skills during a halftime display. The One New Zealand Warriors also wore a special commemorative jersey to mark the occasion, made up of several key design elements that honoured the servicemen and servicewomen who had fought for New Zealand and Australia.

Thank you to all involved for making this event possible. We deeply appreciate the honour and significance of commemorating Anzac Day in this special way.