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70th Commemoration for Korean War marked on 1 July

Media release: 29 June 2020

The national commemoration marking the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War is being held at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on Wednesday 1 July, Bernadette Cavanagh Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage said today.

“Members of the public are most welcome to attend this commemoration where we reflect on what happened in Korea and the service and sacrifice of the New Zealanders who took part,” Bernadette Cavanagh says.

“This year’s commemoration will be attended by the Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, who will give the Commemorative Address, the Minister of Defence Hon Ron Mark, the Republic of Korea Ambassador His Excellency Sang-Jin Lee, the National President of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association BJ Clark, and Korean War veterans.”

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 6000 New Zealanders served in Korea between 1950 and 1957; 4700 were members of the army’s Kayforce and 1300 served on the six Royal New Zealand Navy frigates which were active around the Korean peninsula.

Forty-five New Zealand servicemen, including two naval personnel, died in Korea and two others died serving with Australian forces.

Wednesday’s commemoration concludes with the laying of tributes on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

People wanting to attend the commemoration are asked to assemble in Anzac Square at 10.45am for an 11.00am start.

More information about the Korean War is featured on the NZHistory website at:


Contact: Christine Seymour, phone 027 807 9400.


Updated on 29th June 2020