As part of an official visit to Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, our Director General Claire Horton CBE, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the New Zealand National War Memorial in Wellington.
Claire is touring a number of sites while in New Zealand, including cemeteries, the NZ Naval Memorial and the Auckland War Memorial Museum as well as meeting our friends, colleagues and partners in government, veterans groups and defence personnel.
Claire said: "I was honoured to be able to lay a tribute at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial.
“The work that the Commission does, through agencies such as the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, respects the sacrifice of the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth who died in the two world wars and makes sure they are remembered. This tour was a great opportunity to see the work that is being done first-hand, and to share information about how that work is carried out.”
Claire was welcomed by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage chief executive Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae, who said:
“This Tomb of the Unknown Warrior is symbolic of all New Zealanders who did not make the journey home from the World Wars. Their graves are being looked after overseas by the Commission.
“We were able to have a conversation with the Director General about the 3,500 war graves located in Aotearoa, which are under the care of our Ministry. We shared information about our common concerns of managing aging heritage, environmental practices and the impact of climate change.”
The visit is just one stop on a tour that will take Claire on to Australia and Papua New Guinea and is the first visit by a CWGC Director General to the region since 2014.
Visits like this highlight the global nature of the work of the Commission. ANZAC servicemen and women played a key role in both world wars and can be found in CWGC cemeteries and on our memorials at home and around the world.
Papua New Guinea was one of the key Pacific battlegrounds during the Second World War following its invasion by Japanese forces. Today, more than 10,000 Commonwealth casualties are commemorated there at sites such as Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery and Lae War Cemetery.
Photos: Mark Tantrum
Learn how to find and visits war graves in New Zealand and discover more about New Zealand during the world wars.How to Find and Visit War Graves in Aotearoa New Zealand