Prime Minister John Key to attend Bastille Day in Paris [fr]
Invited by the French President François Hollande, Prime Minister John Key will attend the Bastille Day Parade in Paris on July 14th, to watch 85 New Zealand Defence Force soldiers march alongside Australian soldiers to commemorate the ANZAC contribution to the Battle of Somme, 100 years ago.
In France, John Key will meet French president François Hollande as well as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, following Manuel Valls’ visit to New Zealand in early May.
These two meetings will allow for further exchanges about our bilateral cooperation, our partnership in the Pacific, peace and international security issues, and our economic relationship in a post-Brexit context.
John Key will also rekindle the flame at France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe.
Mr Key said it was “an honour for New Zealand to have been invited, along with Australia, to take part in these commemorations.
“I am looking forward to joining our Defence Force personnel to pay respects to our soldiers who fought and died in France.”
France’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, will accompany Prime Minister John Key on the visit.
The Ambassador said Mr Key’s attendance will be “a highly symbolic gesture” to commemorate “the shared sacrifices of our soldiers during World War One”.
Such sacrifices “left behind a strong foundation on which we have kept building our friendship to this day”, the Ambassador said.
Thousands of New Zealand soldiers fought during the historic Battle of the Somme and 2000 died on the battlefield.
Further commemorations of New Zealand’s involvement in France during World War One are scheduled later in the year.
Official ceremonies to commemorate the centenary of New Zealand’s contribution to the battle of the Somme
On Thursday 15 September 2016, three ceremonies will be held in Longueval to mark the centenary of New Zealand’s contribution to the battle of the Somme, attended by high level representatives from New Zealand and France. The New Zealand Defence Force Māori Cultural Group will lead the ceremonies. Four young people from Samoa, Niue, Tonga and the Cook Islands have also been selected by New Zealand authorities to travel to France to attend these ceremonies.
French Memorial at Pukeahu National Memorial Park
The design of a French memorial for Wellington’s Pukeahu National Memorial Park is scheduled to be announced on November 11 after a competition which drew 43 entries.
Young Ambassador’s tour 2016
Ten Kiwi students have been selected from ten schools from around the country to travel to France from September 10 to 25, 2016 in the context of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
These highly motivated young New Zealanders will act as “Young Ambassadors” of their country, school and local communities throughout their visit of WWI battlefields and meeting with local families and schools.
They will visit historical and cultural sites where New Zealand soldiers made a significant contribution to the war. On September 15th, they will also attend the ceremony in Longueval commemorating the 100th Anniversary of New Zealand’s participation in the battle. The students’ trip is part of Shared Histories, an international school programme commemorating World War One.