28 Oct 2011

NZ defence force repair WW2 memorial in Solomon Islands

8:07 am on 28 October 2011

The New Zealand defence force vessel HMNZS Resolution will travel today to a remote island in the Solomon group to repair and rededicate a World War Two memorial.

The memorial on Vella Lavella is in memory of New Zealanders killed when their unit was bombed as they landed during a battle in the Solomon Islands campaign.

Lieutenant Commander, Matt Wray, says yesterday the ship's company commemorated New Zealand Day on nearby Mono Island where almost two hundred New Zealand troops were killed in a month long fight to wrest the island from the Japanese.

"It's certainly well-etched in a number of people's minds, what actually happened there. Even for myself, it's not until you don't truly know how big it is until you get there and see how big a a deal they place on the actual day itself. It's very humbling."

Lieutenant Commander Matt Wray says islanders are still alive who remember hiding in caves as the battle raged on the tough terrain.