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Barker welcomes Viet Nam veterans to the capital

Hon Rick Barker
Minister of Veterans’ Affairs

30 May 2008
Media Statement
Barker welcomes Viet Nam veterans to the capital

Tribute08 - a commemoration and reunion event for all New Zealand Viet Nam veterans starts today with an Welcome in Civic Square followed by Sub-Unit family gatherings.

Veterans' Affairs Minister Rick Barker would like to welcome all Viet Nam veterans and their families to Wellington and has urged Wellingtonians to take the time to attend some of the public events and show their support for our veterans.

"Tribute08 is an important opportunity for New Zealanders to show their appreciation for those who served in Viet Nam and remember those who gave their lives," Mr Barker said.

"Civilians will never be able to fully comprehend the circumstances experienced by those who leave our shores in uniform to a theatre of conflict. However, Tribute08 does give us the opportunity to acknowledge those who lost their lives in Viet Nam and show our appreciation to those who served.

"This weekend is about putting veterans of the conflict in Viet Nam alongside all veterans who have served New Zealand in the various wars and emergencies the New Zealand armed forces have been involved in, and according Vietnam veterans and their families the same respect.

Tribute08 is part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the government and representatives of Viet Nam veterans in 2006. The MoU is a wide ranging package which acknowledges in concrete terms that service personnel in Viet Nam and their families have been exposed to and continue to be affected by a toxic environment.

"Under the MoU, $1 million was set aside to welcome Viet Nam veterans home and Tribute08 is the result. The government has also provided financial assistance for veterans travelling to Wellington in the form of travel subsidies.

"Most importantly Tribute08 is an event for veterans, organised by veterans. A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring that it runs smoothly and I would like to thank all the members of the Tribute08 organising committee," Mr Barker said.

The public is welcome to attend parts of Tribute08, including; the Honour March to Parliament on Saturday morning and the Memorial and Commemoration ceremonies on Sunday.

There is also a multimedia exhibition, public concert, and a play, ‘Ka Mate, Ka Ora’, written specifically for Tribute08 on show over the weekend.

For more information on what is happening over Queen's Birthday Weekend visit www.tribute08.com


ENDS

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