Anzac Day social studies activities

Page 6 – Anzac Day and war experience

Anzac Day and the war experience

For some students in your class there could be a family connection with the Anzac story and New Zealand's participation in wars in general. Exploring the impact and significance of this for your class members is a good starting place. This approach will require a fair degree of input from home, so you might want to consider sending a notice home explaining the purpose of this topic/unit and how the student can be helped or supported from home.

A list is available of those New Zealanders officially recorded as having been killed on 25 April. You can search at for the names of all New Zealanders who died at Gallipoli in 1915.

If you have students/families with a fair degree of knowledge about their family's wartime experiences then you might want to consult From memory – New Zealand's war oral history programme. This is an extremely useful guide to carrying out your own war oral history interviews and includes suggested questions that could be easily modified for the purposes of this exercise. If it is not possible or appropriate to interview anyone, the questions could be adapted to support a piece of general research. A broader oral history task or piece of family research could be a good piece of extension for some of your students.

Otherwise, you could keep it relatively simple by completing the following exercise.

Some questions to kick things off could include:

  • How many students in your class have family who have served or are serving in the armed forces?
  • Did any of your relatives see service during any of the wars New Zealand has been involved in?
  • Did any of your relatives see service at Gallipoli? If so what does your family know about their experiences?
  • For those family members who fought, what do you know about their attitudes or feelings about their wartime experiences? Did they talk openly about the war?
  • Are there any family photos or mementos associated with family members' wartime experiences?

There is the possibility that a class display could be set up if some families are willing to share such prized possessions, or you and the class could prepare a display from pictures and objects obtained from other sources.

How to cite this page

'Anzac Day and war experience', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 10-Sep-2014