NEW Zealand’s Minister of Defence, Peeni Henare, will visit Honiara this weekend to take part in the 80th anniversary commemoration of the Second World War Battle of Guadalcanal.
Minister Henare will be accompanied by New Zealand’s Secretary of Defence, Andrew Bridgman; the Commander of Joint Forces, Rear Admiral James Gilmour; Victoria Cross recipient Mr Willie Apiata; members of the New Zealand Defence Force and senior officials.
“New Zealanders from the Army, Air Force and Navy served with distinction in the Solomon Islands between 1942 and 1945,” High Commissioner Jonathan Schwass said.
“The Royal New Zealand Air Force flew missions from airfields around modern-day Honiara and other parts of the country. Royal New Zealand Navy ships including the Kiwi, Moa, the Leander and the Achilles were involved in major actions in Solomons’ waters, and the Moa rests today in Tulagi harbour. New Zealand soldiers fought in Vella Lavella and liberated the island of Mono.
“As the Second World War starts to slip beyond living memory, it is important that we continue to honour people of all nationalities who served and who died here. The remembrance ceremonies being organised for this weekend show clearly that they are not forgotten. They remind us, too, that the ties between New Zealand and Solomon Islands go back far into the past.
“New Zealand thanks the Government and people of Solomon Islands for their hospitality in welcoming New Zealand and other participating countries to visit Honiara to pay tribute to those who served,” High Commissioner Schwass said.
More than 30 New Zealanders will fly into Honiara on Saturday 6 August for the commemorative events and will depart again on Tuesday 9 August.