ANZACs Holding the Line

Immerse yourself in the world of the ANZACs. Learn about Cyril Bassett, a Victoria Cross recipient and extremely brave New Zealander. Uncover changes in communications technology and how these changed the way people connected with war.

New Zealanders seated upon a captured anti-tank gun,ca. Auckland War Memorial Museum 1914-1918,EPH-W1-1-51

Recommended for Year 3 to 8

This lesson is available to share as Google Slides

Curriculum Links

Social Sciences

Level 2- Understand how people make significant contributions to New Zealand’s society.

Level 3- Understand how people remember and record the past in different ways.

Level 4- Understand that events have causes and effects. Level 4


Level 3- Understand how society and environments impact on and are influenced by technology in historical and contemporary contexts and that technological knowledge is validated by successful function.

Level 4- Understand how technological development expands human possibilities and how technology draws on knowledge from a wide range of disciplines.  Level 4 

Focus on National events

“Learning about the First World War and taking part in Anzac Day commemorations provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the curriculum vision of being actively involved learners and the values of community and respect. Your students can explore conceptual understandings in the social sciences and make use of key competencies, especially thinking, and using language, symbols, and texts.”

Setting the Scene

You will need:

· Downloadable workbook

Discussion Questions

  • Why do we hold Anzac Day? 
  • Have you been to a dawn service? 
  • Have you participated in different kinds of commemorations such as wreath laying, a church service, or parade? 
  • Can you describe the event? The people, sounds, and what it felt like.
  • Why is Anzac Day important to many New Zealanders?
  • What ideas and values do you hold about this commemorative event?
  • How have Anzac Day commemorations changed over time?
  • What is the relevance of Anzac Day in today’s world?

Anzac Day is held each year on April 25th. This is the anniversary of the landing of the ANZAC troops at Gallipoli in 1915.

The first world war played an important part in creating a national identity for New Zealanders. Prior to this, many Pakeha New Zealanders still considered themselves to be subjects of Great Britain. 

During the war Kiwi soldiers realised they were distinctly different from their British and Australian peers. The ‘ANZAC spirit’ of camaraderie and bravery was cemented.

Unknown photographer (ca. 1917) [Identified servicemen] Auckland War Memorial Museum call D501 P853 p1

Te Ara: New Zealand Identity Story

Reflect on your own experiences with ANZAC day. Use this resource to help you answer the following questions.

New Zealand History: Anzac Day

Introduce the topic of ANZAC’s and discover what knowledge your class has about this subject. Encourage your class to share their personal experiences around Anzac Day.

Due to Covid-19, the 2020 Anzac Day commemorations have been cancelled. Watch this video explaining the decision by the Returned Services Association to postpone Anzac Day commemorations this year.

Brainstorm a way that your class can participate in Anzac Day commemorations from home or online.

Click to the next pages for:
The story of the Anzac biscuit
The story of Cyril Bassett and the Victoria Cross
War Communication