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Unveiling of Korean War Memorial

Sunday 10 December 2000 Media Statement

Unveiling of Korean War Memorial

The Minister of Veterans' Affairs Mark Burton today unveiled a memorial on the Wellington waterfront, 50 years to the day since the first New Zealand troops departed for the Korean War.

The memorial is a rock, donated by the Korean port city of Pusan.

"Today's unveiling ceremony recognises a significant moment in New Zealand's history", Mark Burton said.

"After the invasion of South Korea by North Korea, and in response to United Nations calls for assistance, New Zealand offered a ground combat force. Volunteers were called for and over 6000 men replied to this call.

"1100 were selected to form Kayforce, and training was carried out at Burnham, Linton and Papakura camps. After specialist training at Waiouru, the men of Kayforce came here to Wellington to embark for Korea, aboard the SS Ormonde.

"The SS Ormonde departed on December 10, 1950, and arrived at Pusan on New Year's Eve. It was the start of an active combat role for New Zealand troops that would continue for the next two and a half years.

"The monument unveiled today is one of two rocks which the city of Pusan sent to New Zealand. The other rock is at the naval base in Devonport, and commemorates the important role the New Zealand Navy also played in the Korean War.

"Today's ceremony is part of a commemoration programme which has caused all of us to reflect on that conflict of 50 years ago. We have not forgotten the 6000 who served in Korea, and we remember and honour the 43 who lost their lives.

"Throughout the conflict, New Zealanders acquitted themselves with pride and professionalism. Now fifty years on, it is appropriate for all New Zealanders to remember with pride and gratitude the contribution that these servicemen and their families made," Mark Burton said.

ENDS

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