Thousands gather for Anzac Day Dawn Service

Thousands of people gathered at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and many more across the country, for this year's Anzac Day Dawn Services.

The commemorations came to a close to the sound of bagpipes.

The public holiday acknowledges more than 300,000 New Zealanders who have served in military conflicts. More than 30,000 have died in service since 1916.

Live updates have now ended.

7:00am - People are sharing photos of Dawn Services on Twitter, both in New Zealand and across the ditch.

6:35am - The Dawn Services across the country are coming to a close.

Veterans and service contingents are marching out to the sound of bagpipes and applause.

Memorials will continue throughout the day.

6:30am - Nine thousand New Zealand service personnel have no known grave.

The crowd is singing 'I Vow to Thee my country' in their memory.

6:25am - The crowd is now heading the fourth stanza from Laurence Binyon's poem, For the Fallen.

"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."

6:20am - 'The Last Post' is playing in front of a silent crowd. Dawn is breaking across the country.

6:15am - Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is speaking at the Auckland service in front of thousands of people.

"Scarcely a family around the country was not affected by the loss of a loved one," he said.

"We choose Anzac Day, a day when our troops landed 103 years ago, alongside their Australian comrades at Anzac Cove to remember those who served and those who died.

"Our soldiers endured the hell of trench warfare. Shelling, rifle and machine gun fire, later gas.

"We don't come here today to glorify war. That is not what those who fought and suffered would have wanted. Rather, we come here to pay tribute to the courage and the steadfastness of our service personnel and their readiness to die rather than let their mates and their country down."

6:10am - The packed-out crowd is singing 'The Recessional' (Lest We Forget) in Auckland. 

6:05am - Chaplain Chris Haines from the Royal New Zealand Navy is saying a prayer at the Auckland war Memorial Museum Dawn Service.

"Be brave. Be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.

"It seems that peace and freedom in this world are most often only found on the far side of struggle and war.

So standing together this morning as darkness gives way to light we remember before you with solemn and grateful a thousand dawns when young hearts prepared themselves for battle."

He also showed gratitude to those currently serving in the defence forces.

6:00am - This year's Dawn Services have started across the country.

5:55am - James Obe, who served in the 90s, is at Auckland's commemorations. He told Newshub it's special to bring his children along.

"It's a big effort getting up this early in the morning. It's beautiful weather for it too and it's great to see the good turnout here."

5:45am - The government has announced $1.1 million in grants over the next four years to support military veterans.

Of the grants, the NZ Returned and Services Association will receive $250,000 annually and the No Duff charity will receive $25,000 each year.

Minister for Veterans Ron Mark says the funding is acknowledgement of the outstanding work being done by the RSA and No Duff.

It will also give both organisations assurance to continue their support services.

New Zealand has around 41,000 veterans, of which 30,000 have served since the end of the Vietnam War.

5:30am - The lights are out and operations suspended at busy Ports of Auckland for the duration of the service.

The port operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year - except for the Dawn Service on Wednesday.

This year marks the eighteenth year the port has halted operations and switched off over 1,000 lights across the Waitemata seaport, as a sign of respect for those who served New Zealand in war.

In years prior to 2009, light from the port could be seen as far as the museum until work was undertaken to significantly reduce light pollution.

By then, the act of pausing operations and switching off the lights had become more than just a logistical exercise and solidified itself as port tradition.

"Switching off the lights and pausing operations for the duration of the remembrance service has become a tradition now embedded in our culture,'' says Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson.

''It gives all of us, particularly our staff who are unable to make a dawn service, a chance to pause, reflect and pay our respects to those who have served, been injured and died in service to their country".

All primary lighting will be turned off between 6am and 6.40am on Wednesday.

5:15am - Crowds of people have already flocked to the Auckland War Memorial Museum for the Dawn Service.

Thousands gather for Anzac Day Dawn Service
Photo credit: Jared McCulloch / Newshub.