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The Forgotten War, remembered

Marie Cha lays a poppy on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. 20110627_WN_S1015650_0021.jpg
Marie Cha and her family lay poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

27 June 2011

The 61st anniversary of the start of the Korean War was commemorated at a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial in Wellington on Monday 27 June.

The event was attended by about 120 people, including Korean War veterans; the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Mr Kwang-il Noh; Vice Chief of Defence Force, Rear Admiral Jack Steer; Veterans Affairs Minister the Honourable Judith Collins, and representatives from Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand and the Returned and Services’ Association. 

The ceremony was a chance to formally remember those military personnel who lost their lives during the Korean War, and also an occasion for veterans to reconnect with each other. In his prologue address Rear Admiral (Rtd) David Ledson reminded veterans their “duty was done” and they could now “sit in the warmth of the sun” in the knowledge that their efforts were both appreciated and remembered.

Wreaths were laid by several in attendance, (including the NZ and Korea youth representatives Joshua Peake and Maria Cha, pictured), before The Last Post, Reveille, and the countries’ respective National Anthems were played by the Central Band of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The NZ Defence Force’s Maori Cultural Advisor Warrant Officer One Jerald Twomey read the Ode in Maori, and members of the official party laid poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.


The Korean War began on 25 June 1950 when the Republic of Korea was attacked by North Korean troops. New Zealand was one of the first countries to respond to the United Nations request for assistance and about 6,000 New Zealanders were involved in the War. 

New Zealand’s troops developed a reputation as a fierce fighting force and New Zealand naval frigates patrolled the coast escorting supply ships, and helped to protect South Korean islands.  New Zealand ground troops served in roles such as artillery fire support, signals and transport. An armistice was signed by North and South Korea in July 1953 which brought a tenuous ceasefire to the peninsula.

New Zealand continues its commitment to Korea by sending four personnel to the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission on a rotational basis to monitor compliance to the Armistic

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