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Commemorating 50th anniversary of Viet Nam War

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Viet Nam War. The New Zealand Government has planned two sets of commemorative activities—in Wellington and Canberra. These will be held on 18 August 2016, which is Vietnam Veterans’ Day and 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.


Full commemorative service will be held at Michael Fowler Centre, preceded by a short wreath-laying ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

Email to register your (and accompanying persons') interest in attending the Michael Fowler Centre service:

  • all Viet Nam veterans, their families, and members of the public are welcome to attend
  • transport isn't provided as part of registration—all transport must be arranged by attendees. 

Attendance at the wreath-laying ceremony will be by invitation, although members of the public are invited to observe.


A group of 35 Viet Nam veterans will travel to Canberra, with support from NZDF, to take part in commemorations at the Australian War Memorial on 18 August. 

Ballot for Canberra

The 35 veterans will be selected by ballot. The ballot has 2 categories:

  • general category—for 30 Viet Nam veterans with qualifying service
  • category for 161 Battery—for 5 veterans who were posted or attached to 161 Battery on 18 August 1966, and served at the gun line during the Battle of Long Tan. (This category recognises the significance of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and 161 Battery’s involvement).

To enter in the general category, veterans must have:

  • served in Viet Nam between 1962 &1975 (in the civilian medical team or NZ Armed Forces); and
  • qualified for relevant Viet Nam medallic recognition (Vietnam Medal, or NZ General Service Medal with “Vietnam” clasp). 

To enter in the category for 161 Battery, veterans must meet the general-category criteria; and have also:

  • been posted or attached to 161 Battery on 18 August 1966; and 
  • served at the gun line, or been actively involved, during the Battle of Long Tan.

The ballot is only for New Zealand Viet Nam veterans currently resident in New Zealand:

Registration & selection

Registration for the Canberra ballot is by registration form. You can get this from:

  • VA News (June 2016); or
  • (by emailing request for form). You can also email questions; or request ballot's terms & conditions and privacy policy, though these will anyway be sent you with acknowledgement of your registration.

You may register for the Wellington service as well as the Canberra ballot. But you may enter only one category of the ballot, and must mark your choice clearly on the registration form. 

Registrations close Friday 24 June—none will be accepted postmarked after 24 June. If successful in the ballot, you'll be notified in July. If unsuccessful, and still wishing to attend:

Travel & support

If you've concerns regarding your medical or mobility fitness, please consult your GP. After the ballot in early July, veterans selected will need medical clearance from their GP to travel. 

The veterans will travel to and from Australia with the NZDF. They'll stay 3 nights in Canberra, attending the Viet Nam War commemorative services there, before travelling back to New Zealand.

Spouses or family members won't travel in the contingent to Canberra. But a support team, including medical staff, will travel with the veteran group and can assist should the need arise.

Related information

Commemorative contribution: veterans travelling to Viet Nam, to mark the anniversary, may be able to get help with travel costs.

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