ANZAC Day learning ideas

Learning ideas for ANZAC Day, including some information on animals used in WWI written in English and Māori.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • All early learning services 
  • Educators, teachers and kaiako
  • Service managers
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau

Below are some learning ideas you may want to adapt for your children in the lead-up to ANZAC Day. These ideas are from the 100-year anniversary of New Zealand's commemoration of World War I.


You could try these learning ideas:

  • children making their own white crosses (with wood or cardboard)
  • storytelling
  • socio-dramatic play with soldiers, nurses and other medical staff attending to the wounded
  • searching stories and photographs of soldiers and medical staff stories
  • create some photo story books that you can laminate for your book shelves
  • finding out if anyone in your community has an ancestor that went to war and share their story
  • visiting your local RSA and talking and reading stories with some of their members
  • discussing and working through emotions
  • growing some red poppies
  • express emotions through art, represent the red poppy symbol, do still life drawings with actual red poppies.

The role of animals in WWI (English version)

Animals played a part in World War I. It's difficult to think about animals being involved in World War I but many were.

There were 10,000 horses sent to help the troops – they carried men and supplies and they pulled carts that carried essential supplies. Camels were used in the deserts of Sinai and Palestine, and donkeys were used in Gallipoli.

Other animals became friends with the soldiers or became mascots of their regiments.


Murphy was a donkey who helped carry wounded men in Gallipoli.

Murphy the donkey


Dogs became mascots. Paddy was the mascot of the Wellington Regiment.

Paddy the dog

Caesar was the official mascot of 4th Battalion (“A” Company) New Zealand Rifle Brigade. He trained as a Red Cross dog and helped in the battlefield by finding wounded soldiers.

Caesar the dog


Cats were also found on the battlefields. Snowy was the mascot and friend of the men of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company.

White cat

Ētahi ariā mō te whakanui a ngā ratonga mātauranga kōhungahunga i te Pakanga Tuatahi o te Ao

Kua whakahiato te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga me te Rōpū Matapopore i ētahi ariā mō ngā mahi whakanui ka taea pea e ngā ratonga mātauranga kōhungahunga me ngā kōhanga reo. He whakaaro anake ēnei mahi – kei ngā ratonga mātauranga kōhungahunga te tikanga mēnā ka whakanui i te Pakanga Tuatahi o te Ao, ka pēhea anō hoki e mahia ai.

Ētahi ngohe

  • ka hanga ngā tamariki i ā rātou anō rīpeka mā (mā te rākau, te pepamārō rānei)
  • he kōrero pūrākau
  • he mahi whakatau pāpori me ngā hōia, ngā tapuhi me ētahi atu kaimahi hauora e whakamaimoa ana i ngā tāngata taotū
  • te rapu haere i ngā kōrero me ngā whakaahua o ngā hōia, me ngā kōrero o ngā kaimahi hauora
  • te waihanga kōrero whakaahua ka taea te whakakirihou me te rokiroki i ō pae pukapuka
  • te kimi haere mēnā kua whai tupuna i haere ki te pakanga tētahi o tō hapori, ā, ka hiahia ki te kōrero mō taua tupuna.
  • te haere ki tō RSA pātata me te pānui kōrero ki ētahi mema
  • te matapaki me te huritao i ngā kare ā-roto
  • te whakatipu papi whero
  • te whakapuaki kare ā-roto mā ngā mahi toi; te tohu i te tohu papi whero; te tā tātuhi ata toka me ngā papi whero tūturu.

Ka taea ētahi o ngā ngohe i runga te mahi e ngā ratonga mātauranga kōhungahunga mā te whakamahi kararehe i roto i tētahi kaupapa mō te Pakanga Tuatahi o te Ao:

Ngā kararehe i te Pakanga Tuatahi o te Ao

I whai wāhi ngā kararehe ki te Pakanga Tuatahi o te Ao. He uaua te whakaaro i whai whāi ngā kararehe ki te Pakanga Tuatahi o te Ao, engari anō he maha i whai wāhi atu.

I tukuna ngā hōiho 10,000 ki te āwhina i ngā hōia – he kawe tāngata me ngā rawa, he tō kāta he mea uta ki ngā rawa waiwai anō hoki ngā mahi. I whakamahia te kāmera i ngā koraha o Hinai me Pirihitia, i whakamahia te kaihe i Karipori.

He mea whakahoa ngā hōia e ētahi atu kararehe, ka noho rānei he taonga waimarie mō ō rātou matua.

Anei ētahi o ngā kararehe o te Pakanga Tuatahi o te Ao:

He kaihe a Murphy i kawe tāngata taotū i Karipori.

Murphy the donkey

I noho ētahi kurī he taonga waimarie. Ko Paddy te taonga waimarie o te Matua o Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Paddy the dog

Ko Caesar te taonga waimarie ōkawa o te Hokowhitu Tuawhā (Matua "A") o te Ope Raiwhara o Aotearoa. He mea whakangungu hei kurī Rīpeka Whero, ka āwhina i te kauhanga riri nā te rapu i ngā hōia taotū.

Caesar the dog

I kitea hoki he ngeru i ngā kauhanga riri. Ko Snowy te taonga waimarie me te hoa o ngā tāne i roto i te Matua Keri Arapoka o Aotearoa.

White cat

More information


Books for young children with a World War I theme include:

  • The Donkey Man by Glyn Harper, illustrated by Bruce Potter
  • Caesar the Anzac Dog by Patricia Potter, illustrated by Bruce Potter
  • The Little Red Hen and the Great War by Jennifer Beck illustrated by Robyn Belton
  • Le Quesnoy: the story of the town New Zealand saved by Glynn Harper, illustrated by Jenny Cooper.

Other resources

The following websites provide more information about World War I.

Tomb of the Unknown Warrior  Ministry for Culture and Heritage website(external link)

New Zealand Victoria Cross winners  New Zealand History website(external link)

Researching New Zealand's soldiers and nurses  New Zealand History website(external link)

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