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New Zealand pauses to remember the Korean War

Media release: 21 June 2022

An Act of Remembrance ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington will be held on Saturday 25 June to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of New Zealand’s involvement in the Korean War, in which several thousand New Zealand Army and Navy personnel served.

"The ceremony will take place at 11am at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior," announced Neill Atkinson, Deputy Chief Executive Te Hua Delivery (Acting), Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

"We look forward to welcoming Korean War veterans at this annual ceremony, along with Minister for Veterans Hon Meka Whaitiri and Republic of Korea Ambassador His Excellency Mr Sang-jin Lee.

The Korean War began on 25 June 1950, when communist North Korean forces crossed into South Korea. New Zealand was one of the first countries to answer the United Nations Security Council’s call for combat assistance.

Some 6,000 New Zealanders served in Korea between 1950 and 1957; 4,700 were members of the Army’s Kayforce and 1,300 served on six Royal New Zealand Navy frigates, active around the Korean peninsula. Forty-five New Zealand servicemen, including two naval personnel, died as a result of their service.

While the conflict ended in July 1953 no formal peace settlement was ever agreed and an armistice remains in place. The war took a heavy toll in terms of casualties, including the loss of approximately 2 million Korean lives.

"The commemoration will remember the service and sacrifice of the New Zealanders who took part and acknowledge the devastating impact of this conflict on the people of Korea," says Neill Atkinson.

People wishing to attend this year’s commemoration should arrive at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Buckle Street, Wellington on Saturday 25 June at 10.45am for an 11.00am start.

Attendees are encouraged to follow all relevant COVID-19 guidelines and face masks are recommended.

More information about the Korean War is featured on the NZ History website:

Updated on 27th June 2022