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Tuesday 25th April 2006

ANZAC stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps.

On this day, 25th of April in 1915, eight months into the First World War, Allied soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula. At that point in time it was Turkish territory, Turkey forming part of Germany's ally - The Ottoman Empire.

ANZAC troops were there as part of a plan to force a Turkish surrender and open the Dardanelles Strait to the British Empire’s Allied fleets, allowing them to threaten the Ottoman capital, Constantinople - now Istanbul. Tragically, the Allied forces encountered unexpectedly strong resistance from the Turks and both sides suffered an enormous loss of life.

The ANZAC troops from New Zealand and Australia, played an important part in the invading force and ironically people at home greeted the initial news with great excitement - ‘our boys’ were finally fully engaged in the war. New Zealand soldiers distinguished themselves with their courage and skill, and formed an enduring bond with the Australians they fought beside. The long campaign highlighted New Zealander’s strengths such as bravery, tenacity, practicality, ingenuity and loyalty to comrades and the English Monarchy. These strengths all helped define New Zealand as the nation we are today. The ANZAC troops fought long and hard, far away from their homeland on the other side of the world for many long months in the name of the British Empire.

However, the Gallipoli campaign was extremely under resourced and poorly planned, and in the end a huge and costly failure. The sacrifice was in vain and after nine months of bloody and fatal conflict, the Allied forces abandoned it, evacuating the surviving troops. A third of all the New Zealanders taking part had been killed. The small communities they came from back home counted the cost in the lengthy casualty lists that appeared almost daily in local newspapers. Those names are recorded in stone memorials in every city, town and rural community throughout New Zealand.

Although ANZAC Day is the anniversary of the first day of conflict, it does not mark any military triumph. It does, however, remind us of a very important episode in New Zealand's history. Great suffering was caused to our small country by the loss of so many young men during those nine terrible months.

Those waiting at home for news were able to send care packages or food parcels to their loved ones and these often contained ANZAC biscuits. The recipe contains no eggs as they were scarce during wartime.

  • Anzac Biscuits Recipe
  • 100 grams / 4 oz of butter
  • 1 dessertspoon of golden syrup or honey
  • ½ cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ¾ cup of rolled oats
  • ¾ cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 75 grams of melted chocolate to decorate, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
  2. In a large saucepan melt the butter and golden syrup, then remove from the heat and cool.
  3. Add the white sugar, flour, rolled oats and coconut and mix thoroughly.
  4. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon of water and add to the mixture.
  5. Line a baking tray with cooking paper.
  6. Roll small rounds of the mixture and place on the baking tray, remembering to allow room for the biscuits to spread.
  7. Flatten with a fork.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
  9. When cool drizzle with melted chocolate if desired
  10. Makes 24

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