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DG Commonwealth War Graves Commission to visit

Media Release
For immediate release Tuesday, 3 February, 2004

Director-General Commonwealth War Graves Commission to visit New Zealand

Mr Richard Kellaway, Director-General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, will visit New Zealand from 5 to 13 February 2004 to inspect war graves of the First and Second World Wars throughout the country.

The Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark will host a reception for the Director-General at Premier House in Wellington on 10 February.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was established by Royal Charter on 21 May 1917. New Zealand is a signatory to the Charter.

The Commission, which is based in the United Kingdom, is responsible for commemorating the 1.7 million members of the Commonwealth Armed Forces who died during the two World Wars, and for the care of their graves throughout the world.

Costs are shared by partner governments – New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, India and South Africa – in proportion to the number of graves from each country. The Commission’s annual budget is approximately ₤35 million, of which New Zealand contributes 2.14 %. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage acts as the Commission’s New Zealand Agent.

Of the almost 30,000 New Zealand casualties from both World Wars, 2908 are buried in 433 sites throughout New Zealand. In addition, 570 casualties, with no known grave, are commemorated on memorials in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Periodically, a senior representative from the Commission will visit New Zealand to meet with key stakeholders and inspect many of New Zealand’s war graves. These visits raise public awareness of the work of the Commission and verify that New Zealand is maintaining its graves to a high standard.

Mr Kellaway’s itinerary includes several provincial regions in addition to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. (Full itinerary attached.)

The Deputy Director-General, Roger Dalley, visited New Zealand in 2000, and the former Director-General, David Kennedy, in 1994.

Further information about the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is available online: www.mch.govt.nz/heritage/cwgc

-ENDS-


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