Around 6000 Kiwis and Australians attended a service at Gallipoli to commemorate the 97th anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove.
It was attended by dignitaries from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Veteran Affairs Minister Nathan Guy.
On a clear, still, Turkish morning, Gillard paid tribute to "the men who came from the ends of the earth to fight a far off war" in her address.
"This is a place hallowed by sacrifice and loss. It is too, a
place shining with honour, and honour of the most vivid kind,"
"A place where foes met in equality and respect and attained a certain nobility through their character and conduct."
Some two-thirds of the 130,000 fatalities during the campaign were Turkish, but there was no lasting animosity between opposing sides, Gillard said.
"The Turkish honoured our fallen and embraced them as their own sons," she said.
"And later they did something rare in the pages of history - they named this place in honour of the vanquished as Anzac Cove.
"We therefore owe the Republic of Turkey a profound debt. No nation could have better guarded our shrines or more generously welcomed our pilgrims.
Guy said the bravery of the soldiers that fought at Gallipoli remains "etched in our psyche".
"Gallipoli is widely regarded as a significant milestone in the emergence of our unique New Zealand identity."
"The human cost of that campaign and the fighting on the western front left no community untouched in our small country.
"In remembering the suffering, the loss on both sides, let us commit ourselves to working for a world where between different nations can be resolved without resorting to war.
"That is the way we can best honour those men who fought and died here."
Message from Clinton
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also paid tribute to Australian and New Zealand troops.
In a statement released by the United States Embassy in Wellington, Clinton said: "On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Australia and New Zealand on Anzac Day this April 25th.
"Today we pay tribute to all the men and women in the armed forces of Australia and New Zealand who have served with dedication, courage, and sacrifice.
"We remember those who have given their lives and the families and friends who mourn them - they are the heroes who we honor every day by working to make our world safer and more secure.
"This year, as we commemorate ANZAC Day, we also remember those brave soldiers who were working for peace seventy years ago. At that time, the Pacific faced an uncertain future, but American, Australian, and New Zealand troops joined together and stood up for the tenets of democracy."
Services across NZ
Tens of thousands of people braved a chilly morning to mark the occasion at early morning services across the country.
Chief Executive of the Returned and Services Association, Dr Stephen Clarke, said the day means a lot to New Zealanders' sense of identity.
"It's a part of our history, New Zealand is a small country which contributed such numbers and played an important role on the world stage, but it's also about remembering the cost of that impact," he said.
"Every town has a war memorial, it is just a part of the fabric of our society - going to a dawn service is a rite of passage."
Around 10,000 people were at Auckland's War Memorial Museum this morning for the service, and similar numbers were witnessed in the country's other major centres.
In Christchurch the event featured a memorial cross carved from a beam from Christchurch Cathedral by members of the Australian Urban Search and Rescue Team.
While in Dunedin the sound of bagpipes rang out as serving Army personnel joined war veterans for the march into the Oval. Around 10,000 people crowded the streets to watch the parade.
Clarke said the numbers of people attending services is up on last year despite dwindling numbers of veterans.
"The baton (of remembrance) needs handing on and that's what we're seeing with so many people at dawn services," he said.
"That means a lot to the veterans - to know their story will be passed on and the memory of those they left behind overseas will remain."
Diplomats from across the world paid their respects at the Wellington War Memorial this morning in a special service attended by the Prime Minister and Governor General.
The national memorial itself is now 80-years-old and is currently undergoing a multi million dollar makeover.
Anzac family bond
Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparare said the day was about recognising New Zealand's role in the world and paid tribute to the Anzac "family" bond.
"I think there is no other two countries that have got such a strong association as we do," he told Breakfast.
"The 1200 miles that separate us is no distance when it comes to celebrating who we are and what we represent in the world."
Sir Jerry said while New Zealanders and Australians have their squabbles their close family-like bond, forged in war, remains strong.
"Family are able to talk to each other candidly," he said, "but there are no people on this earth I would stand beside more gratefully and acceptingly as an Australian."
Across the Tasman thousands have also been gathering for dawn services across the country.
Thousands of flag-waving wellwishers burst into spontaneous applause as the oldest and most frail veterans were carried down George Street during Sydney's Anzac parade.
While around 45,000 were expected at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance for a dawn service.
At 2.30 pm TV ONE and tvnz.co.nz will be live from the memorial service held in Gallipoli, Turkey.
- With AAP