70th Anniversary Celebrations9th May 2012
The 70th Anniversary celebrations to commemorate the ‘friendly invasion’ and ‘occupation’ of New Zealand by American Armed Forces from 1942 to 1944 opens soon in Paekakariki.
The celebrations begin on Sunday, May 27, with a Mulled Wine concert presentation of Jan Preston, (see What`s On) and on the following day, Memorial Day (the U.S. equivalent of Anzac Day) there’ll be an event in Queen Elizabeth Park (the former Camp Russell).
A new memorial to ten US sailors who died off Paekakariki beach in June, 1943, will be unveiled and Memorial Grove of Trees planted, to honour the lives of men killed in the Pacific war will be planted. This new memorial will be placed near the US Marines Memorial.
The ceremony will be attended by Governor General Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, tangata whenua, national and local politicians, members of the New Zealand and U.S. armed services, the RSA, visiting U.S.Marines and their families, and community and youth groups.
The day will feature the New Zealand Air force Band and leading New Zealand baritone Zane Te Wiremu Jarvis
The celebrations, called Salute 70, is a unique 1940’s themed festival to honour American servicemen and women who were stationed, trained or convalesced in New Zealand during World War II. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the thousands of sailors or ships crews who visited the country during this time.
It will be our last big opportunity to host Marines and other U.S. Armed forces, who camped on our land, were adopted by our families, dated our grandmothers, and defended our country while “our men” were fighting in the Middle East. This is a great time for people to find their old photos, their address books, and war-time treasures and be part of a very special anniversary.
Salute 70 is being organised by the Kapiti US Marines Trust in cooperation with the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), the Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC), the Porirua City Council and a range of other heritage, environment and tourism groups. And will run until June 14 (the official anniversary of the Marines landing in Wellington), when a series of national events will be in Wellington Town Hall.
The focus of Salute 70 is the Wellington Region, particularly in Camps Paekakariki, Russell and Mackay where over 15,000 U.S. military personnel were stationed. Nearly 8,000 Marines were also stationed in Titahi Bay, Porirua, Plimmerton, Judgeford and Pauatahanui.
The U.S.Marines Forces Pacific Band, which was a “star turn” during the Rugby World Cup, is also expected to tour a number of major centres, starting with a concert in Kapiti on June 10.