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Hymn for ANZAC Day

Honour the dead, our country’s fighting brave,
honour our children left in foreign grave,
where poppies blow and sorrow seeds her flowers,
honour the crosses marked forever ours.

Weep for the places ravaged with our blood,
weep for the young bones buried in the mud,
weep for the powers of violence and greed,
weep for the deals done in the name of need.

Honour the brave whose conscience was their call,
answered no bugle, went against the wall,
suffered in prisons of contempt and shame,
branded as cowards, in our country’s name.

Weep for the waste of all that might have been,
weep for the cost that war has made obscene,
weep for the homes that ache with human pain,
weep that we ever sanction war again.

Honour the dream for which our nation bled,
held now in trust to justify the dead,
honour their vision on this solemn day:
peace known in freedom, peace the only way.
Music: © Colin Gibson 2005 Words: © Shirley Erena Murray
Tune: ANZAC 2005

Hīmene mō te rā o ANZAC

Kia ikeike te wāhi mō te māia
Ka tīraha ki whenua kē
Taku pōkai-tara te pua o te pōuri
Ko te rīpeka hei tohu i tō mate

Tangihia mō ngā toto o te toa
Mō ngā kōiwi o te māia
Mō ngā mōreareatanga o te ao
Mō ngā ritenga mōrikarika

Whakatūria te toa ki tōna taumata!
Nā te hīinga ngākau te wae i takahi
Whakapirau atu te mauhere
Kīia ai koe he ware, kai nā te ahi

Turuturu ngā roimata auē te moumou
Ko te hekenga o Maruiwi ki Te Rēinga
Tangi taukurī ai ngā kāinga
Auē te moumou! Tangi taukurī e.

Kei waikura te ōhākī nei
I rere te toto o ngā toa
Whakamaua te kitenga kia tina
Kei waimeha te kura o Rongo.

© Translation by Rangi Karaitiana McGarvey 2007.
Adapted by Whirimako Black.

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8 thoughts on “Hymn for ANZAC Day”

  1. Ref: ‘conscientious objectors’ – their mistreatment doesn’t mean they were right…..

    In the end it’s a pacifist hymn with no concept of Just War – which is at very least ONE of the main Christian traditions about war.

    I like ‘For The Healing of The Nations’ but there’s an extra verse which makes it more reflective of the Just War Tradition.

    1. I am not going to debate this here, Andrew, it is a particularly sensitive issue in NZ. The hymn makes no suggestion that conscientious objectors or anyone was “right”. Removing the third verse I suggest would not make it a “pacifist hymn” so I think your analysis of the hymn in its totality is incorrect. It is not about presenting any theologies of war. ANZAC Day is about remembering those who were involved in war and pledging ourselves to treasure all that we have because of what they gave. I think the above hymn sensitively acknowledges conscientious objectors who have too often been written out of that story. Thank you for mentioning ‘For The Healing of The Nations’, readers can find it linked here. Again, I do not read it quite as you do – but I think that is the value of poetry and hymns – we can often find different things that speak to our own particular needs and context.

  2. Excellent. I came to this page simply because I was looking for an mp3 download of “the hymn we sung on Sunday”. I found it by searching for: hymn honour war in Google and navigating to this page. I had no idea it was an NZ hymn. Certainly a tear jerker and certainly provides a modern realistic interpretation of what war is all about. Good stuff and deserves to be better known.

  3. Alistair Moore

    CONGRATULATIONS BOSCO . YOUR HYME IS A WONDERFUL WORK . PERHAPS YOU COULD MAKE IT BETTER KNOWN BY HAVING SOMEONE DO A SOLO VERSION OF IT AND PUT IT ON UTUBE AND ON THIS SITE WITH THE MUSIC / GUITAR CHORDS etc . THE CHURCH CONGREGATION VERSION AS PLAYED ON RADIO TODAY WAS NOT AUDIBLE (lyric wise) AND THATS A PITY . I LISTENED TODAY TO YOUR INTERVIEW WITH JIM MORA . YOUR A VERY BRIGHT AND SENSITIVE PERSON – YOUR HYME VERY POWERFUL AND I’M SURE IN TIME IT WILL BECOME FULLY ACCEPTED ON ANZAC DAY INCLUDING THE THIRD VERSE . ANDREW H INTIMATES BEING – “A CONSCY” – IS NOT NECESSARILY ‘RIGHT’ . OF COURSE IT IS – FOR THEM – AND THAT IS WHAT WE ALL MUST DO – WHAT IS ‘RIGHT’ ACCORDING TO OUR CONSCIENCE . TAKES GUTS .
    YOU SAID YOU WERE SELLING WHITE POPPIES . PERSONALLY I WOULD LIKE TO WEAR BOTH A RED AND A WHITE ONE DEPICTING BOTH PAST AND THE FUTURE . I AM 60yr OLD MALE WHOS DAD CAME BACK FROM – WW⒉ –

  4. Elizabeth Dempster

    I recently (2013) had the opportunity to sing this womderful Anzac hymn. I sang it as a solo with a brass band.
    Beautiful words and a wonderful hymn tune. I found this a very moving experience.
    I hope more of the public learn this hymn.

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