20 Aug 2011

Veteran welcomes Vietnam battle commemoration

4:10 pm on 20 August 2011

A Maori veteran of the Vietnam war, Kingi Taurua of Ngapuhi, says it feels wonderful to have one of the Vietnam war battles acknowledged by the Government at last.

A ceremony was held at the National War Memorial in Wellington on Thursday to mark the 45th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan, in which 18 Australians died, and New Zealand forces saved the day.

Kingi Taurua says two of his mates were killed in Vietnam and he found it very hard to come home injured and be vilified by people opposed to the war.

"There were a lot of Maori also opposed to that war so it was very, very depressing for us ... it feels good to be recognised for what we have done."

Mr Taurua says he has never applied for his war pension because to do so would mean reliving his injury and other painful memories of the Vietnam war.