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Launch of 'The War that never ended : New Zealand veterans remember Korea'

On 05 March 2013, the Ministry launched our latest History Group publication 'The War That Never Ended : New Zealand veterans remember Korea' as told to Pip Desmond.

The book was launched at Parliament by the Minister of Veterans' Affairs, Michael Woodhouse with representatives from the New Zealand Defence Force, the Royal New Zealand and Returned Services' Association along with Members of Parliament in attendance.

In July 1953, the Korean War Armistice was signed and a new border, close to the 38th Parallel, was instituted. New Zealand’s military role in Korea, while small, was pivotal in the conflict and assisted the United Nations’ ultimate imperative – to preserve the Republic of Korea.

For the more than 6,000 New Zealanders who served in the Korean War during the early 1950s, it has been dubbed ‘the forgotten war’; one in which peace has yet to be declared. Forty-five Kiwis lost their lives in this Cold War conflict and yet the veterans’ home-coming was unsung. But they never forgot Korea and, now, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, their role is remembered and honoured in this landmark publication.

The publication from the Ministry is one of eleven books based on oral histories, recorded over more than a decade, that preserve the memories of New Zealanders at war.

As told to highly-regarded oral historian Pip Desmond, the stories of the Korean War veterans will resonate with generations past, present and future. “As with all oral history, it is the power of personal narrative that breathes life into historical events. These unique memories will give future generations a greater understanding of this largely forgotten war and its impact on New Zealand,” says Pip Desmond.

With an introduction by eminent military historian, Ian McGibbon, General Editor (War History), Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 'The War That Never Ended' is an oral history par excellence, lavishly illustrated with striking war-time photographs, which hail from both public and private collections.

This publication completes the Ministry's From Memory programme which has seen over 150 oral history interviews deposited with the Alexander Turnbull Library's Oral History Centre.

Updated on 23rd July 2015