Wellington lays out crosses for WWI dead

A field of white crosses has been laid in Wellington's Botanic Gardens ahead of Anzac Day to honour New Zealand's World War One dead.

The Field of Remembrance on the Salamanca Lawn includes 5,270 crosses.

Each bears the name of a Wellington Regiment soldier, who died either during the 1915-1918 conflict or from wounds or illnesses contracted while serving.

With regiment recruits coming from Wellington and Taranaki up to Hawke's Bay, local councillor Andy Foster says the field helps today's generation better understand how the conflict touched everyone's life at the time.

"The visual impact of the white crosses installation really demonstrates the massive, and personal, impact the War had on the young Wellington community," he said.

"Every one of (the people whose name is on a cross) had their own stories. There will be many of us who will find members of our families, names familiar to us, and it's fitting that 100 years later we remember them all."

Nationwide, 103,000 New Zealanders served overseas in the conflict from a population of 1.1 million, with 18,200 dying and 41,300 wounded.

A blessing, speeches and launch ceremony performed by a military chaplain and dignitaries will be held at the field of crosses on Wednesday at 2pm.

Once the Anzac Services have passed, members of the public are also encouraged to collect the crosses of their relatives with the help of council staff on May 6, between 10am-4pm.