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Ceremony to reflect on New Zealand’s military operations in Malaya and Malaysia

Media release: 14 September 2020

An Act of Remembrance to mark New Zealand’s contribution to military operations in Malaya and Malaysia from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s will take place at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on Wednesday 16 September at 11am.

“This commemoration pays tribute to the contribution New Zealand made to Commonwealth forces for nearly 20 years,” Tamsin Evans, Pou Mataaho o Te Hua Deputy Chief Executive Delivery Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage said today.

“Between 1949 and 1966 New Zealand soldiers, sailors and airmen played a small but significant role in two Southeast Asian conflicts: the Malayan Emergency (1948-60) and the subsequent ‘Confrontation Campaign’ between Indonesia and Malaysia (1964-66).

“Approximately 4,000 New Zealand servicemen served during these campaigns. Sadly, twenty servicemen are recorded on New Zealand’s Roll of Honour as having lost their lives during operational service, three as a result of enemy action.

“New Zealand’s involvement began in 1949 when a flight of RNZAF 41 Squadron Dakotas were used to drop supplies to anti-guerrilla forces. In the late 1950s, both Special Air Service and infantry battalions were sent to Malaya.

“In 1964, New Zealand began helping the newly federated state of Malaysia to resist Indonesia’s attempt to gain control of the North Borneo territories, in what was known as the Confrontation Campaign.

“On 11 August 1966 Indonesian and Malaysian representatives signed a peace treaty in Bangkok with New Zealanders completing their withdrawal from Borneo in October.

“This year’s commemoration will be attended by Courts and Justice Minister Andrew Little and Brett Hudson MP representing the Opposition, with representatives from the Diplomatic Corps, New Zealand Malaya Veterans’ Association, and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association.

“In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, this commemoration will take the form of an Act of Remembrance (wreath laying ceremony) held at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and regrettably members of the public are unable to attend,” Tamsin Evans said.

Photographs of the Act of Remembrance ceremony will be available online at and on the Pukeahu Facebook page


Updated on 14th September 2020