Kāpiti Commemorates Memorial Day

American servicemen based in Kāpiti were remembered this week during a Service of Commemoration.

The event was held at the Mackay’s Crossing Memorial Site in Paekākāariki to remember the US armed forces in New Zealand between 1942-1944.

Close to one hundred and fifty people attended US Memorial Day on the Kāpiti Coast at Queen Elizabeth Park Monday 30th May with speeches by dignitaries US Ambassador Mark Gilbert and the Chair of Kāpiti US Marines Trust Jenny Rowan.

An important part of the occasion this year was the participation of young people from pre-schoolers to students from Paekākāariki School and Kāpiti, Ōtaki and Paraparaumu Colleges and Air Training Corps Cadets No 49 Squadron (Kāpiti). Wreaths were laid by the US Ambassador, Kāpiti US Marines Trust, Kāpiti Coast District Council, New Zealand Defence Force and the RSA. Readings were given by Mayor Ross Church KSDC and Lt Col John Black USMC. Paekākāariki School created a hand-made garland to place upon the memorial honouring ten sailors who drowned in 1943.

Following the ceremony new information and pictorial signage for the Whareroa Farm walking trail was unveiled by Anthony Dreaver of Kāpiti US Marines Trust and US Ambassador Mark Gilbert. The signs were blessed by Kaumatua Don Te Maipi. Sponsored by Trust Power, photographs on seven signs along the trail allow visitors to view the landscape and see the camps as they were between 1942 44.

Students from Paraparaumu and Ōtaki College read out the names of men who lost their lives during a practice exercise of the coast of Paekākāariki.

As a part of the Marines Memorial Weekend Kāpiti joggers and walkers took to the track on Sunday for the fifth running of “In the Footsteps of the Marines.”

The 13km course consisted of sealed, unsealed and farm roads, bush, shingle and clay tracks and was started by the Kāpiti Mayor.

The events were coordinated by the Kāpiti U.S. Marines Trust, commemorating 74 years since the arrival of U.S. Marines in New Zealand during World War II.

For more see www.marinenz.com