Young Kiwis to commemorate US Army landingsSTACEY KIRK
They wouldn't have even been a twinkle in their grandparent's eyes back then, but young New Zealanders are being asked to preserve the memories of their elders to commemorate the landing of the first US Army ships in New Zealand nearly 70 years ago.
The first US Army warships during World War II arrived in Auckland on June 12, 1942 with the marines arriving in Wellington two days later. They came to New Zealand to help deter an invasion by Imperial Japanese forces sweeping southward through the Pacific.
Those dates this year will mark the 70th anniversary of their arrival and the US Embassy, along with the New Zealand Defence Force, Archives New Zealand and the Auckland War Memorial Museum are calling for students to take charge in the commemorations.
The Making History Competition will invite teams of students to make a short video that tells a local story about the presence in New Zealand of tens of thousands of U.S. Army troops, Marines, and sailors during World War II.
Both secondary and tertiary students were being invited to make a short film documentary with the winner being awarded a day on a military base or ship, special behind-the scenes-tours of Auckland Museum and Te Papa collections, and a day's mentoring by a professional documentary film maker.
US ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner said it had never been more important to capture the stories.
"As the World War II generation passes, personal memories of the great sacrifices and achievements of that era will pass with them.
"History is not a clinical exercise reserved to elites. It's a living, breathing, very personal story. Young people have an important role in preserving history, gathering stories before they are lost," he said.
Huebner said entrants would be judged on how well they captured the flavour of the War World II era in New Zealand, and how well they combined their original research and other new materials with the historical resources available Making History website.
2012 also marks the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the US - New Zealand's first formal government-to-government relationship apart from the British Crown.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Walter Nash was sent to Washington in early 1942 by then Prime Minister Peter Fraser as New Zealand's first envoy, in part to ensure troops for the defense of New Zealand and the Pacific.
* Making History is free to enter on website www.etv.org.nz. Entries close midnight June 3.
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