Act of Remembrance – Merchant Navy Day

4th September 2020
Photo credit - Mark Tantrum Photography
On Thursday 3rd September, 2020 a small ceremony was held at the Pukeahu National Park War Memorial to mark Merchant Navy Day. This date (3rd September) marks the sinking of a British merchant ship (the Athenia), just hours after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Merchant Navy Day commemorates the contribution of civilian merchant seafarers during the times of war. According to a New Zealand Government release, ‘New Zealand seafarers contributed strongly to our First World War efforts. Quietly and competently, they kept the wheels of commerce moving, transporting troops across the world and crewing our hospital ships.’ The Minister of Defence (Hon Ron Mark) laid the wreath on behalf of the Government of New Zealand while the Samoa High Commissioner (HE Leasi Papali’i Scanlan) laid the wreath on behalf of the Diplomatic Corps.