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

AMA: Scoop's 'Invisible Paywall'

Operation Chrysalis: The Final Countdown - Thanks & There's Still Time To Pledge

Phew! We are now counting down the hours to the end of this crowd-funding campaign at 11pm on Sunday. Thankyou to all those Scoop readers and supporters who have pledged already. You have been awesome. But this is not over yet. More>>

 
 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: No Public Submissions On International Government Procurement Deal

“The government is preparing to assent to the Government Procurement Agreement, a World Trade Organisation Treaty which opens up New Zealand Government contracts to foreign companies and closes the door on local businesses and their workers. However the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is refusing to take public submissions on the decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Pacific Spying

So New Zealand spied on its friends and allies in the Pacific – and has not only been passing on the results to the NSA, but has apparently passed on the details of the Pacific’s relations with Taiwan to our other best friends, the Chinese. On the side, the Key government has also been using the security services to gauge the chances of Trade Minister Tim Groser landing the top job at the WTO... More>>

ALSO:

State Housing Transfer: Salvation Army Opts Out

The Salvation Army has decided against negotiating with Government for the transfer of Housing New Zealand stock.
More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news