30 October 2014
A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend.
The Albany Convoy Commemorative Event (31 October-2 November) marks the 100th anniversary of the Australian Imperial Force and New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) troopships departing together to sail for Egypt. Many of the soldiers on that voyage would be sent to Turkey to fight in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.
“We are proud to stand beside our Australian counterparts to mark the centenary of the beginnings of what would later become the Anzac tradition – a tradition of courage, comradeship and commitment that remain core values of our Defence Force today,” said the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General (LT GEN) Tim Keating.
The NZDF contingent attending the commemoration includes LT GEN Keating, Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Jack Steer, five ceremonial personnel, 20 Reserve Forces personnel, three New Zealand Cadet Force cadets, and 10 members of the NZDF Māori Cultural Group. It will be joined in Albany by HMNZS Te Kaha that set sail from Wellington on 16 October, marking the centenary of the departure of ten ships carrying New Zealand troops to Albany.
LT GEN Keating said, “The attendance of the Reserve Forces and cadets honours the thousands of ordinary men and women that have done the extraordinary in the service of our country.”
Major (MAJ) Timmi Tuatini, the NZDF contingent commander said, “One of the reasons New Zealand was able to raise a force of 8,500 men in such a short period of time was due to the New Zealand’s standing Territorial Forces.
“Cadet training established in New Zealand fifty years before the outbreak of the First World War meant the NZEF of 1914 was a comparatively well-trained and highly skilled force.”
The NZDF contingent will take part in several events over the weekend. The focus of the weekend’s commemorations on Saturday 1 November features a Troop March and Commemorative Service, the opening of Albany’s National Anzac Centre, and the Ships Symbolic Departure involving HMNZS Te Kaha, five Royal Australian Navy vessels, and a Japanese naval vessel.
Other key events involving NZDF personnel include the Royal Australian Navy’s Ceremonial Sunset Service on 31 October, performances by the NZDF Maori Cultural Group at concerts across the weekend, and a Ships Open Day on Sunday 2 November.
Māori Television will screen the Troop March and Commemorative Service from 3pm on Saturday 1 November.
For further information please contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980