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This letter appeared in the Dominion Post on 13 February 2014:

“This year we’ll commemorate the outbreak of World War 1, the Battle of Monte Cassino and the gallant Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

However, it is unlikely New Zealander’s will hear of the 70th anniversary of Operation Squarepeg, the sizure of the Green Islands on 15 February 1944 by troops of 3NZ Division, the RNZAF’s struggle to neutralise the Japanese base at Rabaul or the RNZ Navy’s contribution to the British Pacific Fleet.

Last year the 70th anniversaries of 3NZ Division’s battle on Vella Lavella and the invasion of the Treasury Islands and the navy’s involvement in the battle of Kolombangara and the RNZAF’s struggle in The Solomons air campaign all went unmarked.

Our involvement in the Pacific War is important because these struggles occurred in our backyard and the events of 1943-44 still resonate. Somehow the contributions of our servicemen and servicewomen to the struggle for the South Pacific have become subject to historical amnesia”.

Against this background PEN seeks to reassert New Zealand as a major contributor to Pacific prosperity. History shows that our involvement in the Pacific transcends that of most countries, many of whom are attempting to challenge New Zealand’s close historical and trade links.

Those of us with long memories realise that the Pacific region was and is still very important to New Zealand. It is sad that the region is being gradually relegated to being viewed as being of little importance to New Zealand’s future prosperity by policy makers. For example the Prime Minister of Japan seems to be trying to rewrite the history of Japan’s involvement in World War II. Surprisingly this situation has not been challenged by our Government (or if it has it has not been publicised) although we note that the Ambassador of Japan has been recently chastised by the Government over the intrusion into our exclusive economic zone of a Japanese whaling boat.

One can conclude that there must be an election coming soon.

Lest we forget

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