Skip to main content

Governor-General's Message

Organisers of events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on 15 August 2020 may wish to read out or display the message below from the Governor-General of New Zealand.

The content of this message is embargoed until 15 August 2020. It should not be republished or broadcast before that date. 



Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

Governor-General of New Zealand

National Commemoration for the

75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

Commemorative Foreword

Today marks seventy-five years since the end of the Second World War in the Pacific, and the conclusion of New Zealand’s involvement in the most devastating global conflict in history.

While the Great War of 1914-18 cost more New Zealand lives, the Second World War involved a larger mobilisation of people and resources – in Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific, and at home in New Zealand.

Over the course of six terrible years, around 140,000 New Zealanders served overseas, on land, at sea, and in the air. Hundreds of thousands more contributed to the war effort on the home front.

In August 1945, three months after the end of the war in Europe, many New Zealanders were still serving in the Pacific, a theatre of conflict that resulted in immense suffering and loss of life. Everywhere, New Zealanders served with great courage and strength, in the face of unimaginable fear and atrocity

On 16 August, 1945, Prime Minister Peter Fraser stated, ‘We must see to it that the new world is based on social justice and human rights and that they have not died in vain’.

With these aspirations in mind, New Zealand became one of the founding members of the United Nations. In the post-war period, a new chapter opened for many of our strongest diplomatic ties, including with Japan and the United States. We continue to nurture and cherish those ties.

Today we reflect on the sacrifice of our servicemen and women who served in the Second World War. We remember those who endured the terrible trials of battle and imprisonment, and we honour those who gave their lives in order to secure Aotearoa New Zealand’s freedom.

Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

Governor-General of New Zealand

Updated on 13th August 2020