Dedication of the New Zealand Memorial, Anzac Parade, Canberra

  • Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Prime Minister and Mrs Howard; Ministers, Hon Peter Reith, Hon Bruce Scott, and Hon Ian McDonald; Senator Chris Schacht, representing the Leader of the Opposition; Greg Cornwell, Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly; past and serving members of the New Zealand and Australian armed forces; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be in Canberra for the dedication of the New Zealand Memorial.

I want to acknowledge especially the many veterans from both sides of the Tasman who are with us today. This Memorial is about them; it is about those former servicemen and women who are no longer with us; and it is about the ties which have bound us together for so long.

The Memorial symbolises the longstanding New Zealand-Australian relationship through its pair of bronze structures, representing the handles of a traditional Maori flax basket. In that symbolic basket are to be found our shared history, values and memories, and our common endeavours and sacrifices, in peace and in war.

The connections between New Zealand and Australia go back to the earliest years of our recorded histories. More than two centuries of trans-Tasman contact have seen links established across the full spectrum of national life in both countries. Family, commercial, cultural, sporting, and military ties have bound us closely together, and, I believe, will continue to do so.

This New Zealand Memorial has been erected on an outstanding site, with its two handles framing the entry to Anzac Parade. The Parade itself is a solemn place. Lined by monuments leading to the imposing structure of the Australian War Memorial, Anzac Parade is where deeply-felt memories of generations of Australians reside. New Zealand thanks both the Australian Federal Government and the National Capital Authority for their assistance in bringing this project to fruition in this historic precinct.

The backdrop of Anzac Parade and the Australian War Memorial remind us that joint military endeavour had played a signficiant part in our histories. Indeed, convention has it that our independent national identities were forged on the beaches and hills of Gallipoli. Soil from Chunuk Bair and Lone Pine is interred beneath this Memorial, and recalls the sacrifice of those years.

Earlier today I officially opened the exhibition, "Anzac - the New Zealand Story", which traces the New Zealand and Australian military relationship. It is a story of courage and partnership in adversity. Our co-operation endures today as New Zealand and Australian servicemen and women continue to serve together in East Timor, Bougainville, the Soloman Islands, and other endeavours.

Years of planning have gone into this New Zealand Memorial project. The Memorial stands as New Zealand's gift to the people of Australia to mark the centenary of Australian Federation this year. I thank all those who have worked long and hard to ensure its completion for today's occasion.

May the New Zealand Memorial in Canberra stand as a permanent symbol of the bonds of friendship and co-operation between our two nations, in the past and in the years ahead.