As a child, Alison Bailey would watch her father rise early on April 25 every year to take part in Anzac Day commemorations.
The former Australian Imperial Force soldier served in Borneo and around Malaysia in WWII.
After returning home, he would carry the regiment's flag in every Anzac Day parade.
Nowadays, Ms Bailey attends the Anzac Day dawn service at Wellington's cenotaph, wearing her father's service medals in his memory.
"I could never understand why he did it, but coming here now and representing him, I do," Ms Bailey told NZ Newswire.
On Wednesday morning, she stood in darkness next to her workmate, Jessica Struthers, who was also remembering family who served in WWII.
The pair have attended together for the last five years, with Ms Struthers wearing her grandfather's Egypt service medals, and her grandmother's Red Cross medal.
She said the day was "a bit sentimental".
"I wish they were here. It's a shame we always lived in different cities so I never got to see them march at their own Anzac parades."
The pair were among more than 3000 who gathered around the cenotaph and on the closed-off road as military gunshots and the Last Post rang out through the empty CBD streets.
For nine-year-old William Antrobus, it was an extra special day: both his birthday, and his first Anzac service
Accompanied by brother Mitchell, 7, and father Sean, William wore the medals of his great-grandfather Ted Thompson, who served in North Africa in WWII.
"It's special to me since people from both sides of my family have been in the war," William told NZ Newswire.
Jim Norman, 53, who was in the UK Reserve Forces, wore his medals and his father's WWII Pacific Theatre medals.
He was pleased with the massive turnout, which was bigger than last year.
"It's really important that young people are here and they remember the sacrifice of those who came before them," Mr Norman said.