Coronavirus: How to celebrate ANZAC Day when there are no dawn services

For the first time in more than a century, there'll be no dawn services to commemorate ANZAC Day as the country remains in lockdown.

The cancellation of poppy sales fundraising is also likely to deprive Returned Service Association (RSA) welfare programmes of millions of dollars.

RSAs say now more than ever is a time to remember our servicemen and women, former and active - and they've given us some ideas to make sure we won't forget.

The country's largest dawn service at Auckland War Memorial attracts tens of thousands of all ages, but this year there will be no gathering and no parade.

No one's left behind, however; the RSA's good work continues, helping out those veterans in need.

"We can be proud - each and every one of us that has served can stand tall," Auckland RSA's Graham Gibson said.

"We've held the line and we've been out there helping our sick and our vulnerable delivering meals and doing all the things as part of our ethos part of our DNA."

It's not just the services the RSA is missing out on. Poppy-selling normally raises around $2 million for its welfare programmes, which include physical support for older veterans and financial and mental help for more recent servicemen and women.

"They struggle finding work or staying in employment that is meaningful for them, so we find a lot of hardship issues - and of course there are the psychological effects that they come across as well," RSA senior advisor Danny Nelson said.

The RSAs are hoping a fundraising drive late this year might help.

In the meantime, they're hoping the significance of ANZAC Day won't be lost in lockdown as New Zealanders find new and novel ways to show their support. For Danny Nelson, whose best friend and colleague were killed in Iraq, that means everything.

"To have that sort of support really makes it all worthwhile, and it allows me and others in service to feel appreciated and recognised for everything that we've gone through and done on behalf of New Zealand," he said.

Whether it's standing at dawn in your driveway or balcony on Saturday, or letting your kids draw or make poppies, it is noticed - and it couldn't come at a better time.

"For a veteran, it's special because they are the torch-bearers; they will carry on for that next generation, so it's very, very special," Gibson said.