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Marines Memorial unveiled at Queen Elizabeth Park....
June 2012
Kapiti mayor Jenny Rowan and Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair Fran Wilde greet US Marines who were stationed here during WWII. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth King.

A new Sailor's Memorial has been unveiled to about 600 people at a Memorial Day event, marking 70 years since the friendly invasion by US Marines of Paekakariki during World War II.

Kapiti US Marines Trust and Greater Wellington Regional Council organised Monday's event, which saw former and current US Marines attend alongside the likes of Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Organiser Allie Webber said the event was a great success, and she has had an "overwhelming amount of positive feedback".

A sculpture made by Riverbank Engineering in Otaki was unveiled at the ceremony, honouring the 10 US Marines who died when a ship sank off the Kapiti Coast during WWII.

The ceremony started with a powhiri and flag raising, before Sir Jerry Mateparae and US Army Lieutenant Colonel Steven M Johnson made speeches to the large crowd.

Wreaths were laid at the new sculpture and at the Camp Russell site, where the memorial ceremony was held.

Ms Webber said she was proud of herself and the Kapiti US Marine Trust for the work put in to organise the event, and said it was great to have people attend from the United States.

"They have really enjoyed their time in Kapiti and really enjoyed the Memorial Day," she said.

"I think the turnout showed how big this still is to people in Kapiti, that the Americans were based here."

The Salute 70 festival runs until June 14.

A running event on June 10 will follow a route near Queen Elizabeth Park, through Whareroa Farm where the marines used to train.

For a full list of events, see www.marinenz.com.

 
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