Pacific Scoop

WWII Memorial Plaque Dedicated On Vella Lavella Is, Solomons

Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force

A dedication service has been held on Vella Lavella Island, Solomon Islands after HMNZS RESOLUTION delivered a memorial plaque commemorating the Kiwis who lost their lives in the WWII battle to liberate the island.WWII Memorial Plaque Dedicated On Vella Lavella Island, Solomon Islands

A dedication service has been held on Vella Lavella Island, Solomon Islands after HMNZS RESOLUTION delivered a memorial plaque commemorating the Kiwis who lost their lives in the WWII battle to liberate the island.

A group photo after the memorial dedication service, Vella Lavella Island, Solomons Islands.

Fifteen New Zealand servicemen were killed during a Japanese bombing attack in Niarovai Bay, Vella Lavella on 1 October 1943. They were buried on the island and later re-interred at Bourail War Cemetery in New Caledonia.

Later in the war, members of the 209th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery erected a large stone plinth at the site with a metal plaque commemorating those who had died. Over time the memorial was forgotten and it fell into disrepair.

New Zealand soldiers patrolling in the area for the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) rediscovered the memorial in 2006 and the corroded plaque was later sent to the NZ Army Museum in Waiouru.

NZ High Commission staff and NZ Defence Force personnel serving in the Solomon Islands began a restoration project in 2011 to have a replacement plaque erected at the site.

A new stone plaque was made in New Zealand replicating the original wording and adding new information about the post-war history of the memorial.

“The memorial is one of the very few physical reminders of the significant role that New Zealand servicemen played during the campaign to liberate Vella Lavella from the Japanese. It is important to remember and honour their sacrifice,> “> said Major Al Mitchell, NZ Senior National Officer in the Solomons and Deputy Commander of RAMSI.

“The Kiwi troops serving in the Solomons have helped the NZ High Commission staff to raise the funds for this restoration project.

“It’s great to be able to come together with the people of Vella Lavella for a dedication service for the new memorial. We have been warmly welcomed by the locals here, who have also helped with the restoration project.”


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1 comment:

  1. Janet Butler (nee Nonipitu), 12. November 2012, 0:19

    I was just reading the article of the War Memorial Plague placed at Niarovai Village. Its was lovely to see the NZ High Commission for SI and the NZ Defence Force to be able come together with the community and my people of Niarovai Village to Commemorate those who have lost their lives during the WWII battle on our homeland Vella La Vella Island, Solomon Islands.
    I am from Maravari Village where my father helped to burry all the NZ Armies and USA Armies who died during WWII at the buriel area which is called Qoluku Point, and after the war the NZ Govt sent its Naval ships to come and collect all who have laid to rest there. Again my father was helping removing the bones to be taken back to NZ and USA. My dad have told me lots about NZ Armies and USA Armies that were helping our people during the WWII. Now the cemetary at Qoluku Point, Maravari is used as a soccer field but you can see it today that its not smooth but the children still use it for soccer field. My village is further from Maravari which is now called Gorevaha Village but during the WWII its was called Pusinau, and that is the main base of the USA Armies and again my father was working along with the NZ commander and USA commander at that time as he was a Missionary for Methodist mission from Vonunu, and had to fled into the jungles and were based up in a mountain at Sipulo above Maravari village. So WWII is history to me and other people of South East Vella. We have lots of memories of the WWII and without USA Armies and NZ Armies our parents and grandparents would be all wiped out.
    I would like to thank you NZ Armies and USA Armies for protecting our parents, grandparents, families and the villages as a whole. We will always remember those War Soldiers who have served for their country and lost their lives in our soils. May they Rest in Peace with God and Peace be with them.