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50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

Media release: 17 August 2016

The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be marked with two services in Wellington on 18 August.

A wreathlaying ceremony attended by His Excellency The Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key and the Chief of Defence Force will take place at the National War Memorial in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park at 10.00am.

The Governor-General inspecting the Royal Guard of Honour.

New Zealand Defence Force personnel will form a guard of honour in Anzac Square. The 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment’s regimental colour and a gun of the Royal New Zealand Artillery will also be paraded. At the conclusion of the wreathlaying ceremony, His Excellency The Governor-General will lay a wreath at the Australian Memorial in Pukeahu National Memorial Park.

The official party presenting wreaths at the Australian Memorial.

The National Commemoration to mark New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War takes place in the Michael Fowler Centre from 11.00am with the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key and the Chief of Defence Force in attendance. Vietnam veterans and their families will also attend the service. Commemorative addresses will be given by the Prime Minister and Mr Bob Davies MBE on behalf of Vietnam veterans.

Music will be provided by the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band and the Ngāti Poneke Young Māori Club. At the conclusion of the service, refreshments will be served in the Frank Renouf Foyer.

The Vietnam War was the last, longest and most controversial of the five major wars in which New Zealand was involved in the 20th century. Between June 1964 and December 1972, more than 3000 New Zealand military personnel served in South Vietnam. There were 37 casualties while on active service and 187 were wounded. In addition, about 300 New Zealand civilians, including members of a surgical team and Red Cross and Save the Children workers, went to help the people of South Vietnam; two New Zealand civilians lost their lives.

A delegation of New Zealand Vietnam veterans will attend the Australian Vietnam War commemorations in Canberra on 18 August.

For more information about New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War, visit and for a general overview of New Zealand’s participation in the Vietnam War check out our website Further information will be available on the NZ History Facebook site: and via Twitter @NZVietnamWar and @NZDFHeritage


Updated on 14th August 2017