ABMC Dedicates New Memorial in New Zealand
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) dedicated a new memorial today in Wellington, New Zealand in the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to mark the importance of America’s relationship with the nation during World War II. “In almost all the overseas conflicts involving New Zealand, the U.S. has also been there,” said Tamsin Evans, Deputy Chief Executive Delivery, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. “It’s most appropriate the U.S. was one of the first nations to be invited to build a memorial and it is a most welcome addition to the park’s landscape.”
American and New Zealand government officials as well as members of the public gathered to dedicate this granite memorial. U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand his Excellency Scott Brown spoke about the unique friendship between the United States and New Zealand, solidified in common cause during World War II. “This memorial honors our shared history, the values we share, and our ongoing commitment to making our world a better place. It provides an important place for Americans and Kiwis to visit and reflect for many generations to come,” said Brown.
This memorial, a granite tablet, is surrounded by trees native to New Zealand. The tablet has an intentional subtle profile in the ground, and includes an inscription on parts of the granite that are intended to look like waves. The inscription is from a radio address delivered on ANZAC Day, April 23, 1943 by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox.
An estimated total of 100,000 Americans were stationed in New Zealand during World War II. While no battles occurred here, New Zealand’s geographic location proved important in America’s South Pacific military strategy—specifically as a staging base for operations in the region. Further, America’s presence also served as a deterrent to possible Japanese invasion.
The New Zealand Memorial is the 30th memorial, monument, or marker managed by ABMC.
Established by Congress in 1923, the American Battle Monuments Commission commemorates the service, achievements, and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces. ABMC administers 26 overseas military cemeteries, and 30 memorials, monuments, and markers.