Dedication of Australian Memorial in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park
It is a pleasure and it is also fitting to be here with my Australian counterpart today for the dedication of this magnificent memorial.
This park was opened only two days ago, though its origins date back to 1919 when the government agreed to build a National War Memorial here in Wellington.
It was to be visible from any part of the city, from ships entering the harbour, and from Parliament, so that future governments would remember the sacrifice that had been made in the First World War.
Since the Carillon opened in 1932, this memorial space has been added to several times and the latest addition is this fine Australian Memorial that we are dedicating today.
We always hoped that our closest friend would be the first country to have its own memorial in our park, and I am delighted that this has now happened.
Five days from now we will stand beside our Australian friends again, but this time at Gallipoli for the 100th commemoration of the first landing by the Anzacs on that ill-fated shore. There will be other significant services around the world, and right here, as well as in Canberra.
The name Gallipoli has become synonymous with acts of great courage, immense hardship and terrible sacrifice on both sides of the campaign.
For New Zealanders and Australians in particular, it is also the symbolic beginning of what we now think of as the Anzac spirit.
I was privileged to be in Albany last November to commemorate the first coming together of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and the Australian Imperial Force – the origins of the Anzacs a hundred years before.
In fact, the bond between our two countries goes back to the early decades of European settlement and we have had close links ever since.
The Anzac spirit has been defined in many ways – mateship, courage, integrity. But what it means in practice is that we can knuckle down and work together anywhere from a solid foundation of mutual trust.
We have a proud history of co-operation in the world’s conflict zones the names of these places are listed on the memorial pillars. They include South Africa, Gallipoli, Northern France, Greece, Crete, North Africa, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and, more recently, Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.
We also collaborate to bring humanitarian relief to disaster zones around our region and beyond. As we speak, we have teams working very closely together in Vanuatu for the Cyclone Pam recovery effort.
And when we are in need ourselves, we are there for each other too.
Australia’s support meant a great deal to us practically and emotionally when the devastating Canterbury earthquakes struck.
New Zealand is equally resolved to go to Australia’s aid – as we have done around terrible bush-fires and floods in recent years.
As well as brothers in arms we are trade partners, tourists in each other’s countries, we enjoy strong family connections and work together in many international forums to advance our mutual interests.
We like to take the mickey out of each other and are fierce rivals on the sports field. But when it comes to the crunch, we have each other’s backs, every time. It’s what mates do.
Our New Zealand Memorial standing proudly at the head of Anzac Parade in Canberra is of great significance to New Zealanders, representing the deeds of the ANZACs and our most important relationship in war and in peace.
We continue to be grateful to Australia for the generosity shown to us in that special commemorative zone.
Now we welcome the Australian Memorial having pride of place in our own national commemorative precinct, Anzac Square.
Like its brother in Canberra, this is a monument to past sacrifice and future endeavour, and to the bonds between our people and yours.
On behalf of all New Zealanders I thank the Australian Federal Government and the Australian people for this gift.