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Carter to attend Mono anniversary in Solomons

Carter to attend Mono anniversary in Solomons

Conservation Minister Chris Carter will travel to the Solomon Islands this week to represent New Zealand at the commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Mono in which his father fought.

Mono, an island located about 500km north-west of Honiara, was the scene of the first opposed landing by New Zealand troops since Gallipoli. Over 4600 New Zealand troops took part in the World War II battle which claimed 40 New Zealand lives and injured 145 others.

"Its is a great privilege to represent New Zealand at these commemorations. A New Zealand government presence will honour the sacrifice and courage of the men who fought for their country. It is particularly important to me because of my father's involvement in the battle," Mr Carter said.

He will also meet with Solomon Island ministers responsible for fisheries, conservation, provincial government and justice.

"The Solomons is one of only a few Pacific countries that votes with Japan at the International Whaling Commission. I am keen to discuss the imporance of marine protection and the conservation of whales and dolphins with them," Mr Carter said.

"I am also interested to forge closer links between the Solomons and the New Zealand's Department of Conservation to offer expertise and advice on conservation management and the development of eco-tourism opportunities, which of course can create jobs. This is part of a broader outreach programme to foster conservation throughout the Pacific."

Mr Carter will launch a new electricity generator for the Gizo province, and an education support programme, both funded by NZAID as part of the Government's on going assistance with provincial development in the Solomons.

"I will also take the opportunity to meet with the Speaker of the Solomon Islands Parliament and various MPs as part of an effort by New Zealand to develop stronger linkages between parliamentarians in both countries," he said. Mr Carter will be travelling from 23 October to 29 October.

The Battle of Mono

Mono is a small island in the Solomon Islands chain, about 500km north-west of the capital Honiara.

It was the scene of the first opposed landing by New Zealand troops after Gallipoli on 27 October 1943. The landing took place as part of the Allied campaign in the Pacific to halt and reverse the Japanese advance towards Australia.

Forty New Zealanders died and 145 were wounded in the landings and the subsequent fighting. Chris Carter’s father, Pvt. Joseph Carter, was one of the soldiers who took part. He was a soldier in the 4 Motorised Transport section of the NZ 8 Brigade.

Mono was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting by New Zealanders in the Pacific theatre. The landing was performed by soldiers of the New Zealand 8 Brigade with the support of RNZAF and American aircraft.

The main New Zealand contingent landed in the south, while a smaller force, a company of 34 Battalion known as Loganforce, took position on the northern coast.

The Japanese initially resisted the landing in the south but then withdrew towards the north. They were harassed by highly effective New Zealand fighting patrols and eventually trapped between the two New Zealand forces.

In desperation, the Japanese launched a fierce attack on the southern garrison during the night 1-2 November. Five hours of furious close quarter fighting followed in which both sides made extensive use of hand grenades. The Japanese were ultimately repelled and lost more than 50 men.

After this battle, the Japanese forces ceased organised resistance. Nevertheless, skirmishes continued for several weeks in the jungle until virtually the entire Japanese garrison of 300 men was wiped out.

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