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Battle of the River Plate commemorated

Hon Christopher Finlayson
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage

10 December 2009
Media Statement

Battle of the River Plate commemorated

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the River Plate this weekend at a service at the National War Memorial in Wellington.

The commemorations will be attended by the Governor-General, Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, along with New Zealand Battle veterans.

“The Battle of River Plate was a historic moment in New Zealand’s naval history,” Mr Finlayson said.

“It was the first blow struck by a New Zealand unit in the Second World War, and provided a victory which gave a huge boost to the Commonwealth war effort.”

“The Battle was a special source of pride to New Zealanders, and foreshadowed the full and active naval role New Zealand would play throughout the Second World War.”

To mark the anniversary, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has produced an online resource describing the battle and the critical role of the New Zealand ship, HMS Achilles.

Ministry historian Ian McGibbon’s text has been translated into Spanish and, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Latin America Strategy Fund, published as a booklet for distribution by the Uruguayan Naval Museum.

New Zealand will join British and German representatives for commemorations in Uruguay, near the site of the Battle of the River Plate. A service in Montevideo this month will be attended by New Zealand Ambassador to Uruguay, Lucy Duncan.
The Ministry’s publication and online resource can be accessed at

A PDF of the Spanish pamphlet is available online at:


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