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75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War

Crowd filling Willis Street during VJ day celebrations, Wellington, 15 August 1945. Photo: John Dobree Pascoe. Collection: Alexander Turnbull Library Ref: 1/4-001829-F

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War – a brutal war that claimed the lives of 50 million people and helped shape the world we know today.

New Zealand will join countries around the world to mark this significant anniversary in 2020. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on the devastating impacts of this war on all who endured it. To acknowledge the experiences of all those who served on the front lines and at home. To remember those lost and honour those precious few still with us.

VE Day – The end of the War in Europe, 8 May 2020

The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, and Governor-General, Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, recorded video messages to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Due to the restrictions in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park was not able to go ahead.  

Learn more about VE Day commemorations

VJ Day - The end of the War in the Pacific, 15 August 2020

New Zealand will commemorate VJ Day on Saturday 15 August, which marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War in the Pacific.

Planning is currently underway for this commemoration and will take account of different possible COVID-19 scenarios.

Planning a commemorative activity?

If you are planning an activity to commemorate the end of the Second World War in your community, we would like to hear from you. Please email: [email protected]


Updated on 25th May 2020