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Minister to attend WW1 commemorations in Europe

Hon Anne Tolley

Minister for Social Development
24 June 2016 Media Statement

Minister to attend WW1 commemorations in Europe

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley will represent the New Zealand government at First World War centenary commemoration events in England and France next week.

The first events will take place on June 29 at Brockenhurst in Hampshire, England, site of the No.1 New Zealand General Hospital, which opened in June 1916 to treat Kiwi troops and auxiliary staff involved in the war. These events will pay tribute to the communities in the UK who looked after New Zealanders 100 years ago, and will include a service at Brockenhurst’s St Nicholas’ Church where 93 New Zealanders who died of their wounds or sickness are buried.

The Minister will then travel to France where she will attend the Battle of the Somme Commemorative Service in Thiepval, an international event organised by the French and British governments, which takes place exactly a hundred years to the day since the battle began on 1 July 1916.

“It is an honour to be representing New Zealand at such significant events, as we remember those who served and who gave their lives for our country, and recognise the communities who treated and cared for our troops while they were away from their families,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Both of my grandfathers fought at the Somme and survived the battle. It’s estimated that there were 8000 New Zealand casualties at the Somme, including 2000 troops who were killed. It will be a privilege to pay tribute to them, and to all of the New Zealanders who played their part.”

Prior to the commemoration events, Mrs Tolley will attend meetings in London with her ministerial counterparts and officials to discuss child protection and care, social work, welfare reform and removing barriers to employment.

The Minister leaves tonight and will return to New Zealand on July 4.


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