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Vietnam Veterans’ Day national commemoration

Media release: 16 August 2022

"An Act of Remembrance ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Pukeahu," says Glenis Philip-Barbara, Pou Mataaho o Te Hua Deputy Chief Executive Delivery, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

"We are delighted to host this year’s commemoration at Pukeahu as, unfortunately, the public ceremony has been cancelled for the past two years due to COVID-19."

"The commemoration will reflect on the service and sacrifice of the New Zealanders who took part in the Vietnam War, as well as the ongoing impact of war carried by those who came home, and their families.

"The stigma associated with participating in what became an unpopular conflict, is a burden that many veterans have carried personally since returning home. It’s well past time that we consider all aspects of their sacrifice as we take this time to reflect.

"In addition, the ceremony will acknowledge the significant effects of the war on the Vietnamese people, whose entire way of life was irrevocably impacted" said Glenis Philip-Barbara.

It is estimated that more than one million military personnel and perhaps two million civilians died during the war, many of whom were young people

"In terms of New Zealand’s role, more than 3,000 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 others were wounded or suffered the effects of toxins such as Agent Orange-effects which continued into succeeding generations," said Glenis Philip-Barbara.

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.

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 Thursday 18 August 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 ceremony is available on the Pukeahu events website


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

Vietnam War, NZ History, New Zealand history online

Vietnam War Oral History Project

Asian Conflicts, Te Ara the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Photographs from the event will be shared on the Pukeahu Facebook page

Updated on 18th August 2022