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Vietnam Veterans’ Day National Commemoration

Media release: 14 August 2019

Members of the public are invited to join the annual national commemoration to mark Vietnam Veterans’ Day this Sunday 18 August at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

“More than 3,000 New Zealand military personnel served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972,” says Brodie Stubbs, Manager Te Pae Mahara, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“In addition, around 300 civilian medical and aid workers also travelled from New Zealand to help the people of South Vietnam.

“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.

“This commemoration gives us as a nation the opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of those lost to us, and to acknowledge the ongoing impact of war borne by those who came home and their families.

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

Sometimes referred to as the Second Indo-China War or the American 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 20th century.

Sunday’s ceremony will be attended by the Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin, Vietnam War veterans, representatives from other veteran organisations, the Red Cross, members of the diplomatic corps and members of the New Zealand Defence Force. 

People wishing to attend Saturday’s commemoration are asked to be at the Hall of Memories, at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park at 10.45am for the 11.00am start.

More information about New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War is available at NZHistory.govt.nz and on the Vietnam War Oral History Project Website.


Updated on 15th August 2019