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Nationwide call to veterans and families

Thursday 23 September 2004

Nationwide call to veterans and families to attend Unknown Warrior ceremonial events

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Executive Martin Matthews today launched a nationwide call encouraging veterans and families of New Zealand war dead to take part in ceremonial events marking the return of the Unknown Warrior to New Zealand in November.

“We want as many veterans and families as possible to share in this unique and historic day,” said Mr Matthews. “Veterans, next of kin and descendants who live in Wellington, or are planning to be in Wellington on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 November, are urged to contact the Ministry as soon as possible as there are a number of ways they can participate in ceremonial events.”

National President of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association John Campbell said, “We want to ensure that all New Zealand veterans’ organisations are represented and to encourage them to take part in the Wellington-based ceremonies. We also want to acknowledge next of kin and descendants of all New Zealand war dead, especially those with no known grave.”

“There are opportunities to attend the Arrival Ceremony for the Unknown Warrior at Parliament, the lying in state at Parliament House, and the Military Funeral Procession in central Wellington. Seating has been made available for veterans, next of kin and descendants of New Zealand war dead at the Memorial Service at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul and the Interment Ceremony at the National War Memorial,” said Mr Campbell.

A special toll free number 0800 NZTOMB (0800 437 349) and email address nztomb@mch.govt.nz have been set-up by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to enable veterans and families to apply for seating at the Memorial Service and the Interment Ceremony. Seating is limited and will be determined by ballot if necessary. Applications for seating close on Monday 11 October. Further information on all Unknown New Zealand Warrior ceremonial events is online at www.unknownwarrior.govt.nz.

A New Zealand delegation will travel to France for a ceremony early in November to begin the process of repatriating the Unknown Warrior. On return, the Unknown Warrior will lie in state at Parliament to enable New Zealanders to pay their respects. A Memorial Service will be held on 11 November at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, followed by a Funeral Procession through central Wellington to the National War Memorial where an Interment Ceremony with full Military Honours will take place.

The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior Project is co-ordinated by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Other government departments involved are: New Zealand Defence Force, Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand, Department of Internal Affairs (Visits and Ceremonial Office), Te Puni Kokiri/Ministry of Maori Development, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is supported by the National War Memorial Advisory Council, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association, Te Ati Awa (represented by the Wellington Tenths Trust), the Wellington City Council and Transit New Zealand.

To apply for seating at the Memorial Service or the Interment Ceremony call toll free 0800 NZTOMB (0800 437 349) or email nztomb@mch.govt.nz. Applications close on Monday 11 October. Further information on all Unknown New Zealand Warrior ceremonial events is online at www.unknownwarrior.govt.nz.

- ENDS - KEY DATES 11 October 2004 Applications close for seating allocation for veterans, next of kin and descendants at Memorial Service and Interment Ceremony.

Early November 2004 New Zealand delegation leaves for France. Handover Ceremony to mark the Commonwealth War Graves Commission returning the Unknown Warrior into the care of the New Zealand delegation.

10 November 2004 Unknown Warrior arrives in New Zealand and is taken to Parliament. Arrival Ceremony at Parliament to mark the Unknown Warrior’s return.

10-11 November 2004 Unknown Warrior lies in state at Parliament.

11 November 2004 Memorial Service at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul. Funeral Procession from the Cathedral to the National War Memorial. Interment Ceremony at the National War Memorial.

ENDS

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