War in Korea: New Zealand military forces were involved in Korea from 1950 to 1957. First, they took part in the United Nations ‘police action’ to repel communist North Korea’s invasion of its southern neighbour. Better known as the Korean War, this conflict lasted from 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953, when an armistice was agreed. A reduced New Zealand force remained in Korea in a garrison role until the last troops were withdrawn in 1957.
War in Vietnam: This was the first war in which New Zealand did not fight alongside its traditional ally, Great Britain. Instead, our participation reflected this country’s increasingly strong defence ties with the United States and Australia. More than 3000 New Zealand military and civilian personnel served in Vietnam between 1963 and 1975. In contrast to the world wars, New Zealand’s contribution was modest. At its peak in 1968, New Zealand’s military force numbered only 548. Thirty-seven men died while on active service and 187 were wounded. Two civilians serving with the surgical and Red Cross teams also lost their lives.