104th Commemoration of Anzac Day (2019)

25-04-2019 9:15 pm

Every year, my family and I commemorate Anzac Day. It is a tradition that my sister and I have grown up with. New Zealanders and Australians over the world, commemorate Anzac Day. We all grow up understanding why remembering our fallen soldiers and paying tribute to our servicemen is important. We enjoy "freedoms" today that we often take for granted, and unfortunately I understand better than most the extreme consequences when your freedom is brutally taken from you.

Wherever we are in the world, I remember how lucky I am - and pay tribute to the men and women in our armed forces by attending Anzac Commemorations. When I listen to each one of the speeches, I think of my sister Sharidyn and feel sad that Sharidyn's right to freedom was selfishly stolen from her because of hate and intolerance.

It is not always easy to take time off school in Norway to attend the Anzac Commemorations in Norway because we don't have the same traditions other than celebrating our National Day on 17th May which isn't the same. I hope one day that the 22nd July will became a national day of remembrance in Norway similar to Anzac Day. Maybe then the future will be better at remembering the victims.

Ceremonial Office for Anzac Day Commemoration 2019: Mr Peter Vaughan


New Zealand: Mr David Wallace

Norway: Mr Kjell Mangset

Turkey: Mr Yigithan Yesildag

President of the New Zealand Association Norway: Mr Gregory Coombes

Vice President of the New Zealand Association Norway: Mr Mark Gloyne

Karakia (Māori Prayer): Mrs Mamae Wikiriwhi

A special thank you to Mr Raimond Pettersen, Hon. Consul for New Zealand who laid the wreath on behalf of the New Zealand government and citizens of New Zealand living in Norway. This is Mr Pettersens second year attending Anzac Day commemorations, and I know that New Zealanders in attendance feel honoured that our Hon. Consul is present on behalf of the New Zealand government.


Together with the Australian Ambassador to Norway, H.E Mary Ellen Miller. Thank you to Ms Miller for taking the time to commemorate Anzac Day together with Australians and New Zealanders in Norway. It is always an honour to speak with Ms Miller (2019). Photo Credit: V.Svebakk

Together with the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, H.E Fazlı Çorman. It was an honour to speak with the Turkish ambassador who attends the Anzac commemorations every year (2019). Photo Credit: V.Svebakk

Ambassador from Turkey, H.E Fazlı Çorman holding his speech (2019). Photo Credit: S.Svebakk-Bøhn

I am so proud to stand together with our servicemen representing The Netherlands, Australia and France. Everyday they serve their countries so that we can enjoy the "freedoms" we have today. Thank you for your service (2019). Photo Credit: V.Svebakk

Sqn. Ldr. Justin Filmer, Royal Australian Air Force speaks on behalf of the Australian Defence Forces. It was an honour to meet Mr Filmer and listen to him reaffirm the importance of Anzac Day. On the right, is Mr Peter Vaughan - President of the Australian Association Norway (AAN) and Ceremonial Officer for Anzac Day Commemorations (2019). Photo Credit: S.Svebakk-Bøhn

Mrs Mamae Wikiriwhi reciting the karakia - Māori prayer (2019). Photo Credit: S.Svebakk-Bøhn

It was a privledge to listen to Ms Miller Anzac Day speech today. (2019) Photo Credit: S.Svebakk-Bøhn

Flagbearers representing Norway, New Zealand, Australia and Turkey (2019) Photo Credit: S.Svebakk-Bøhn

Flagbearers representing Norway, New Zealand, Australia and Turkey at 104th Anzac Commemorations (2019) Photo Credit: M.Hansen/S.Svebakk-Bøhn

"Kiwi's in Norway" together with New Zealand Hon. Consul, Raimond Pettersen - Standing on the far left of the back row (2019) Photo Credit: Unknown

103rd Commemoration of Anzac Day (2018)

25-04-2018 11:10 am

In New Zealand and Australia, 25th April is a public holiday and hundreds of thousands of people all over the country wake up before dawn to commemorate Anzac Day, as well as Anzac Day is remembered all over the world. In Norway, the Australian Association Norway (AAN) has organised the Anzac Day ceremony at the Commonwealth Graves sites at Vestre Gravelund in Oslo each year.

The New Zealand Association Norway (NZA) which was established by my mum, Vanessa Svebakk (former and first Vice President of NZA) and fellow kiwi, Mark Gloyne (former and first President of NZA) on the 100th year anniversary since the landings at Gallipoli in 2015, also plays an important role during the ceremony.

The current President of NZA is: Gregory Coombes.

15 New Zealanders who fought during World War II are buried in different parts of Norway - as far north as Tromsø, and as far south as Grimstad.

103rd Commeroration and Wreath Laying Ceremony:

Flag bearers representing their respective countries:

New Zealand: Annah Kerins

Australia: Mark Compton

Norway: Ebbe Torp

Turkey: Gökhon Güngor

We remember them. ❤

Together with Australian Ambassador to Denmark, H.E Ms Miller (2018) Photo Credit: V.Svebakk

Thnak you to Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Donkin for taking the time to chat with me and my family. You helped make my Anzac Day even more special. Thank you for your service (2018) Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Australian Ambassador to Denmark, H.E Ms Mary Ellen Miller and President of the Australian Association Norway (AAN) and Ceremonial Officer for Anzac Day Commemoration, Mr Peter Vaughan (2018). Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Donkin, Australian Defence Forces in the United Kingdom (2018) Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Wreath on behalf of the New Zealand citizens in Norway (2018) Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Wreath on behalf of the Australian citizens in Norway (2018) Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Wreath on behalf of the Canadian Government (2018) Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Illustration (2018) Photo Credit: Unknown

Why we remember Anzac Day each year!

25-04-2018 11:10 am

Since I was small, my mum has always talked about the significance of the 25th April - Anzac Day. It is almost impossible for most in my generation to understand what war is. We learn about different wars at school but the devastation caused as a result of wars seems a little absurd to us who have grown up in countries where peace is our way of life. It wasn't until a few years ago that I really understood the importance of Anzac Day. I understand loss, not related to losing a soldier - husband, brother, son or grandson, but I know what it was like for me to lose my big sister because of the exact same senseless ideologies that soldiers ultimately fight against. 

For my family and I, it is important to us to remember Sharidyn. My sister wasn't a soldier - Sharidyn was a child. She had no military training - she barely had any life training. It wasn't her job to defend our country, our way of life or the values that are important to us - her only job was to be a teenager. Sharidyn did not sacrifice her life for our freedom - her freedom to choose was stolen from her.

My sister was 14 years old - I am almost the same age she was when she was killed. Commemorating the day Sharidyn was killed is remembering, not the senseless reasons for why she was murdered or the person that killed her, but it is about reminding ourselves how precious life is and how precious her life was to us. On the same day every year, regardless of where we have been in the world we remember Sharidyn on the 22nd July.

25th April 1915 marks the day New Zealand and Australia soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula now known as Turkey. It also marks the first military action fought by New Zealand and Australian forces during the World War I. Anzac is the acronym for Australia New Zealand Army Corp, and just like the name suggests, soldiers from Australia and New Zealand fought alongside each other like "brothers in arms" - known as the Anzac soldiers.

On that day, thousands of young men with almost no training stormed the beaches of Gallipoli as part of an Allied attack to capture Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire (an ally of Germany) to open the way for the Allied navies to the Black Sea. The Gallipoli campaign lasted for 8 months, and resulted in thousands of deaths on both sides. 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, 8500 Australians and 2779 New Zealanders were killed at Gallipoli. New Zealanders and Australians who were a very long way from the shores of their own countries, their own homes, never again to return to their families. 

It is for that reason we commemorate the lives of "fallen" soldiers killed during the battle of Gallipoli but we also commemorate Australian and New Zealand soldiers that have died in other wars. This day reminds us as well, about our soldiers that are actively serving in different parts of the world that don't have the same freedoms we have, while their families pray and hope for their safe return home. Commemorating the 25th April is each generations way (since 1916) of thanking them for their service, and our freedom.

We remember them. ❤

Ode of Remembrance, by Laurence Binyon

25-04-2018 9:01 am


They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight from limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted.

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Illustration (2015) Photo Credit: Unknown

100th Commemoration, Gallipoli - Anzac Day (2015)

Video Credit: Jas WingedSpirit/Youtube