Minister Whaitiri has joined with New Zealand Korean War veterans at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to commemorate 71 years since the outbreak of the Korean War.
“As the daughter of a Korean War veteran, it’s an honour to be able to commemorate the service and sacrifice of all those who served in the Korean War and to remember not only their sacrifices, but those of the Korean civilians who suffered during the conflict,” Meka Whaitiri said.
On 25 June 1950 the United Nations Security Council called for combat assistance following North Korea’s move across the 38th parallel into South Korea.
This began New Zealand’s seven year involvement in the Korean War, with two Royal New Zealand Navy frigates, Pukaki and Tutira, leaving New Zealand on 3 July 1950.
On 15 September 1950, after a number of escort operations, the two frigates supported the landings that led to the liberation of Seoul.
Later that year, New Zealand’s ground force (and New Zealand’s last expeditionary force), known as Kayforce, arrived on the Korean Peninsula.
More than 4,700 New Zealanders served as a part of Kayforce and a further 1,300 Royal New Zealand Navy sailors took part in tours of duty in the Korean war. Those sailors represented around half of the Navy at that time.
Forty five New Zealanders lost their lives in the war- 33 of whom were killed in action.
”Today is a chance to reflect on those sacrifices and what it has meant for those who served, for their families, and for both nations. We will remember them”, Meka Whaitiri said.
The Korean War remains historically significant as a key step in New Zealand’s post Second World War move to be more influential in the region.
‘New Zealand’s service in Korea underpins the warm relationship we enjoy with the Republic of Korea today,’ Minister Whaitiri said.