Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Pacific War Commemorative Service address

Hon Michael Woodhouse
Minister of Veterans’ Affairs

26 April 2013

Speech

Pacific War Commemorative Service address

Bourail, New Caledonia

Veterans, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege to address you on this significant occasion.

I would like to begin by extending a special welcome to our contingent of veterans of the Pacific War who have returned to the scene of their youthful exploits after the lapse of 70 years.

You have the honour of representing the thousands of men who fought in the Pacific. All New Zealanders owe you and your comrades a great debt of gratitude for what you suffered and achieved at sea, on land, and in the air in a just war against an enemy whose actions and ideology were abhorrent to us.

It is especially appropriate that we should gather here where we are surrounded by the graves and memorials to more than 500 New Zealanders who gave their lives for our nation in the Pacific during the Second World War.

Today we commemorate New Zealand's part in the War in the Pacific between December 1941 and August 1945.

New Zealand's efforts during the war were focused on the Solomon Islands Campaign, which of all our military commitments in the twentieth century was the closest to our homeland and the one that most directly related to its defence.

The struggle for the Solomon Islands is also particularly significant to us because it involved a major contribution by all three New Zealand Armed Forces.

In the past the achievement of the New Zealand Forces in the Pacific have sometimes not received the recognition they deserved.

This has certainly changed in recent years with the publication of a number of significant books about our role in the Pacific. This has also been demonstrated by the public interest in the fate of the New Zealand coastwatchers murdered on Tarawa in 1942.

The New Zealanders who fought in the Pacific not only had to combat an implacable and skilful foe, but also had to deal with the physical demands and related health problems that flowed from fighting in a tropical environment.

The personnel of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force overcame all the challenges they faced; adjusting to fighting in the jungle, learning how to carry out amphibious assaults and conducting operations over vast stretches of sea.

They maintained and enhanced New Zealand's great tradition of military service in defence of our nation and the values we hold dear.

In recent years the men and women of the New Zealand Defence Force have returned to the Solomon Islands, Bougainville and to other places in the South Pacific familiar to New Zealand veterans of the Second World War.

They have been engaged in a range of peace-support missions that have as their primary focus enabling ordinary people to live their lives in safety and freedom.

Like their predecessors during the Second World War, they have shown great respect for the people of the South Pacific combined with a high degree of professionalism and a commitment to getting the job done.

It is now more than 65 years since the New Zealand military cemetery at Bourail was established. Since 1947 it has been in the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which has done a fine job of developing and maintaining the cemetery.

To the administration and people of New Caledonia, and especially the community of Bourail, I thank you for the care and respect you have shown towards the New Zealand graves and memorials.

Each year on this day you come together here to honour the memory of all those New Zealand buried or memorialised in this cemetery. We are truly grateful to you for the way you honour and remember our fellow New Zealanders.

I would like to close with the tribute to those who are commemorated at Bourail given by the former commander of the 3rd New Zealand Division, Major-General Sir Harold Barrowclough when he unveiled the Cross of Sacrifice at this cemetery in 1955:

Here around us there are honourably interred the mortal remains of gallant comrades, and most dearly loved relatives and friends. Here too are recorded the names of many who have no known grave -- men whose courage led them so far into enemy territory that no one saw the gallantry of their enterprise, and no one could tenderly bear back their maimed and broken bodies. Here we pay tribute to them all. Some were stricken down on this island of New Caledonia. Most of them met death in the jungles of other islands dotted about the vastness of the South Pacific -- on the seas that washed their shores and in the skies above those lands and seas. We who served with them can testify, as testify we do, with pride and with no uncertain voice, that wherever Death encountered them, he found them resolute and unafraid. What greater tribute can be paid to them than to say this -- that in the path of duty they were faithful -- even unto death.

Thank you

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news