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Pacific War Veterans Sought For 70th Anniversary

7 November 2012

New Zealand Second World War veterans who served in the Pacific are invited to register expressions of interest in attending 70th anniversary commemorations of the War in the Pacific, in Noumea, New Caledonia, in April 2013.

The commemoration will recognise all those who served in the Pacific during the Second World War.

For New Zealand, the Pacific War was one fought close to home, mainly in Singapore, in the seas around Japan, and in the Solomon Islands.

Beginning with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, and ending with the Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945, thousands of New Zealanders fought in the Pacific War.

Royal New Zealand Navy Ships, including HMNZS LEANDER, ACHILLES and MONOWAI contributed to the Allied effort in the Pacific, as did airmen from the Royal New Zealand Air Force, (RNZAF), and soldiers from New Zealand 3 Division. New Zealanders also served in other Allied forces.

The War in the Pacific also saw the sinking of HMNZS MOA by Japanese aircraft near Tulagi Harbour in the Solomon Islands on 7 April 1943.

To be eligible to attend commemorations in Noumea, veterans must have attested into the New Zealand Armed Forces between 8 December 1941 and 2 December 1945, and have been awarded, or have been eligible for, the Pacific Star.

Veterans will also need to meet strict medical and fitness criteria to ensure they are well enough to travel as part of the delegation and participate in the commemorative events.

Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand General Manager, Rick Ottaway, said the commemorations will give our Pacific War veterans the opportunity to have their service recognised.

"These men served New Zealand very close to home, and in the midst of a possible invasion of New Zealand itself," Mr Ottaway said.

"The Pacific War took them to places such as New Caledonia, Mono Island, Guadalcanal and the Green Islands – places they may never have visited again.

"I’m delighted we can give them the opportunity to recognise the important part they played in the Second World War."

Commemorations will take place in Noumea on 25 and 26 April 2013. A ceremony will also be held in New Zealand in May 2013.

Costs associated with travel, accommodation, transport and medical costs will be met by Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand.

Veterans wishing to register interest in attending commemorations in New Caledonia should contact Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand, by freephone on 0800 483 8372 or email veterans@xtra.co.nz.

Expressions of interest must be received no later than 30 November 2012.

ENDS

For further information please contact Katherine O’Donnell, Media Advisor – Defence Communications Group, on 021 664 293.


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