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Cancelled: Vietnam Veterans’ Day commemoration – COVID-19 update

Media release: 17 August 2021

The commemoration to mark Vietnam Veterans’ Day on Wednesday 18 August at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington has been cancelled due to the nationwide move to COVID-19 Alert Level 4.

"An Act of Remembrance ceremony was scheduled to take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Pukeahu," says Brodie Stubbs, Manager Te Pae Mahara, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

"We understand that the cancellation of the ceremony will be disappointing, especially for Vietnam War veterans and their families.

“While we cannot hold a commemoration service this year, we continue to remember the service and sacrifice of those lost, and to acknowledge the ongoing impact of war carried by those who came home and their families.

“We also reflect on the heavy human cost of the war to the Vietnamese people,” said Brodie Stubbs.

"More than 3,000 New Zealand military personnel served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972. In addition, around 300 civilian medical and aid workers also travelled from New Zealand to help the people of South Vietnam.

“Sadly, thirty-nine New Zealanders ultimately lost their lives, two civilians were amongst them. Many more were wounded or suffered the effects of toxins such as Agent Orange—effects which continued into succeeding generations,” said Brodie Stubbs.

Sometimes referred to as the Second Indo-China War, the conflict in Vietnam lasted from about 1960 until 1975. It is often described as the longest and most contentious military experience of the twentieth century, and New Zealand’s involvement attracted significant political and public debate.

More information about New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War is available at:

Vietnam War, NZHistory, New Zealand history online

Vietnam War Oral History Project

The cancellation will also be publicised on the Pukeahu events website and on the Pukeahu Facebook page

Updated on 18th August 2021