Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Ministry for Culture and Heritage
On Friday 25 June New Zealand will commemorate the 71st anniversary of the start of the Korean War, at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.
However, at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in Wellington, the event will no longer be open to members of the public.
The ceremony will now proceed with only key personnel in attendance, so that appropriate health and safety measures can be observed.
“An Act of Remembrance ceremony will still take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Pukeahu,” says Tamsin Evans, Deputy Chief Executive Delivery, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
“We understand that the announcement the ceremony is no longer a public event will be disappointing, especially for Korean War veterans and their families, but we must ensure everyone’s safety during this time.
“The Act of Remembrance will still be attended by Minister for Veterans Hon Meka Whaitiri, Minister of Defence Hon Peeni Henare, Republic of Korea Ambassador His Excellency Mr Sang-jin Lee, and His Excellency Mr Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.”
The Korean War began on 25 June 1950, when communist North Korean forces crossed the 38th Parallel into South Korea. New Zealand was one of the first countries to answer the United Nations Security Council’s call for combat assistance.
Some 6,000 New Zealanders served in Korea between 1950 and 1957; 4,700 were members of the Army’s Kayforce and 1,300 served on six Royal New Zealand Navy frigates, active around the Korean peninsula. Forty-five New Zealand servicemen, including two naval personnel, died as a result of their service.
“The commemoration will remember the service and sacrifice of these New Zealanders and will also acknowledge the devastating impact of this conflict on the people of Korea,” says Tamsin Evans.
This annual commemoration is unusual as it is held on, or near, the anniversary of the beginning of the war, unlike most other military anniversaries which commemorate the end of a conflict. While an armistice on 27 July 1953 brought the fighting to an end, no peace settlement was subsequently achieved, and the armistice arrangements continue to this day.