Shar­ing war sto­ries

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The ‘ Amer­i­can in­va­sion’ of US Marines into New Zealand 70 years ago will be cel­e­brated in Porirua later this month, with res­i­dents of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to tour camp­sites and share sto­ries.

At any one time be­tween June 1942 and mid-1944, 45,000 US Marines were camped in New Zealand.

Up to 20,000 were based at Queen El­iz­a­beth Park in Kapiti but there were also camps in Ti­tahi Bay, Mo­tukaraka Pt and Judge­ford. It was a com­ing to­gether of well-fed, charm­ing young Amer­i­cans and in­trigued New Zealan­ders, Linda Fordyce from Pataka said.

‘‘It was a very ex­cit­ing time, the Yanks loved be­ing here for R & R, this was a won­der­ful place for them.’’

While the mu­seum had a large ex­hi­bi­tion for the 60th an­niver­sary, this time they have taken a dif­fer­ent tack. On May 30 there will be a bus tour of the camp­sites ( de­part­ing from Pataka at 10am, cost of $35) and on June 2 from 10am-3pm there will be a ‘‘ shar­ing sto­ries ses­sion’’ in the He­len Smith Room.

‘‘We want as many peo­ple to come down and share their mem­o­ries and even ob­jects, with us, even if you don’t think it’s much. We need to get this oral his­tory down be­fore it’s lost. Peo­ple might even be more open about ro­mances all these years on . . . ’’

Ms Fordyce said she had al­ready heard from women who ironed Marines’ shirts at Taka­puwahia Marae and theny­oung boys who ac­cepted cig­a­rettes from Marines so they could sell them on. Aotea Col­lege stu­dents will be on hand to record, with per­mis­sion, some of the tales in peo­ple’s own words.

The bus trip cost will in­clude lunch and screen­ing of Gay­lene Pre­ston’s film War Sto­ries Our Mother Never Told Us at the Light­house Cinema in Pau­ata­hanui, with Ms Pre­ston giv­ing a talk be­fore­hand.

As part of the cel­e­bra­tions the US Ma­rine Forces Pa­cific Band will play at Te Rau­paraha Arena on June 11, from 10.30am.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Pataka re­cep­tion on 237 1511 or go to


Boys of yes­ter­day: Linda Fordyce from Pataka couldn’t help but smile at the sight of these US Marines, gath­ered by cu­ra­tor Bob Maysmor for an ex­hi­bi­tion 10 years ago. They will grace the walls of the He­len Smith Room on June 2. In coun­try: US Marines at their camp in Judge­ford – which will be vis­ited on May 30 – dur­ing World War II.

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