As anniversary celebrations for the first arrival of American troops to New Zealand shores kick off this week, Wellingtonians will be treated to free performances from one of the US military's top bands.
The US Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band will give two free performances - tomorrow and Thursday - to commemorate the arrival of US Forces in New Zealand during WWII.
US Ambassador David Huebner said the relationship between New Zealand and the United States was a special one.
"The events will mark 70 years since US forces travelled halfway across the world to help defend the Pacific and New Zealand, our 'friend in need'. New Zealanders welcomed the arriving US Forces with a hospitality and friendship that endures to this day," he said.
"As New Zealand and the United States commemorate our shared history, we reflect on values that underpin our special relationship.
"Together, as we remember the hardship and loss of World War II, we also celebrate our response to those dark times, our camaraderie and the spirit of the men and women, military and civilian, called to serve in the face of such adversity."
Huebner said the two countries had had a long, "uninterrupted history" of friendship.
"We have a very long history of engagement. This year marks 70 years of formal bilateral relations as well as 174 years of American diplomatic presence in Aotearoa. With the signing of the Wellington Declaration both countries committed to finding new and innovative ways of expressing our long-held friendship."
Military ties between the USA and New Zealand have not always been so friendly, though.
The USA halted military training with New Zealand troops in 1984 after the New Zealand Government adopted a nuclear-free stance, blocking American war ships from our waters.
The ban was lifted in 2009 and New Zealand military personnel began training overseas with US forces soon after.
The band is made up of 50 Marines from across the United States and travels throughout the Pacific region providing music for ceremonies and public concerts.
Audiences are guaranteed to hear "a little bit of everything", from military to jazz to rock.
Two weeks of commemorative events have been planned for the 70th anniversary of the arrival US Marines in New Zealand in 1942. The culmination will be a ceremony at the National War Memorial, Wellington, on June 14.
The concerts are:
June 13 - 5.30pm: Old St. Paul's, 34 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon, Wellington.
June 14 - 12.30pm: Civic Concert, Civic Square, Wellington.
This has been in a making for a long time. A good New Zealand friend told me about this some time a go and said they are going all out for us. Told him I'm very sorry that I can not make it because... more
I have endeavoured for the last two years to entice veterans, families and friends to return or visit us for the anniversary celebrations, but accept that for many veterans who would love to return... more
Joan, thank you for all the help and information you sent to my sister Robbi. As you know, she and her husband really wanted to be able to make it to NZ this year. I'm hoping for their sake they get... more
Joan, Nice to hear your father is still living. I was 18 years old when I joined A/1/6 Second Marine Division in New Zealand and stayed with them all the way to Nagasaki,Japan. Tell your father to... more
Joan, Do you know if Stanley and June Martin are still with us? Last heard from them when they moved to Olive Tree Village. Palmerston North. Ph.(06)350-3063 Stanley use to keep in touch by enternet... more
Bill I recently heard that both Stan and June have died.A veteran friend of theirs made contact with their daughter and she told him. I lost contact with them in about 2008. Hope alls well with you... more
Joan, Thanks for the information on Stan and June, although sorry to hear of their death but I knew they were in late years and having health problems. I would love to visit your lovely country and... more
I WISH CIRCUMSTANCES WERE SUCH THAT BOB AND I COULD GO BACK FOR THE 70TH. ANNIVERSARY. I KNOW WE WOULD ENJOY IT SO MUCH, ESPECIALLY BOB. YOU FOLKS WILL BE SUCH GOOD HOSTS JUST AS YOU WERE WHEN THEY... more