5 February 2020
The special relationship between South Korea and New Zealand was marked when youths from both countries held a special wreath-laying ceremony at the Korean War Memorial on Aotea Quay, Wellington, yesterday.
The wreath-laying was part of the Korean Vision Camp 2020, a free programme of activity supported by the South Korean Ministry of Patriots and New Zealand’s Veterans’ Affairs.
The Camp, part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Ministry of Patriots and Veterans’ Affairs in Seoul last year, has brought together young people from South Korea and New Zealand, some of whom are descendants of Korean War veterans.
The aim is to enhance the friendships that were established between those who served in the Korean War.
The Camp also provides an opportunity to thank Korean War veterans for their service and to acknowledge their sacrifices through a programme of commemorative activity, cultural experiences, and appreciation activities.
Minji Kim, a student at Sookmyung Women’s University in South Korea who attended the wreath-laying, said she was extremely grateful to the New Zealanders who had fought in the Korean War.
“I am here today to recognize the sacrifice of the New Zealand veterans,” she said.
Ben Dobbie, a student at the University of Otago, said he was there to pay homage to the brave men and women who served in the Korean War and to stand with the Korean students who had come to New Zealand to take part in the Camp.
“It was great to share this experience,” he said. “I felt a bond with everyone who participated.”
The Korean War Memorial marks the spot from which New Zealand Kay Force troops left on the SS Ormonde to the Korean War in December 1950. It also commemorates the important role the Royal New Zealand Navy played in the
A sister memorial, commemorating the arrival of New Zealand troops to fight in the Korean War, is located in Busan, South Korea.
Head of Veterans’ Affairs Bernadine Mackenzie said the Vision Camp initiative was a fitting way to commemorate the special bond formed between the two countries during and since the Korean War.