Passchendaele Centenary Commemoration 2017
The National Commemoration of the Battle of Passchendaele was held at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington today.
The event marked the 100th anniversary of the attack on Bellevue Spur at the Battle of Passchendaele – one of the costliest and bloodiest engagements in New Zealand’s military history.
On 12 October 1917, about 843 New Zealand soldiers were killed and 1,860 wounded. Many more died later, as a result of wounding.
The Centenary event was attended by hundreds of members of the public, military personnel from both the Belgian and New Zealand Defence Forces, and dignitaries and politicians.
The memorial was held on the steps leading up to the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, in front of the Hall of Memories, and was followed by the unveiling of a memorial gifted to New Zealand by the Belgian Government, also at Pukeahu.
Speakers included the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, and the Belgian Ambassador to New Zealand, His Excellency Marc Mullie. RSA Kaumātua Miki Apiti and RNZRSA Chief Executive Jack Steer recited the Ode of Remembrance.
The still, sunny, peaceful Wellington day could not have been further from the mud and destruction of the field in Belgium, 100 years ago.
The commemoration concluded with a shower of red paper poppies scattered from the Carillon, accompanied by the playing of traditional Maori instruments.
We will remember them.