New Zealand Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae will be in attendance at the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete representing New Zealand in commemorating the 7700 New Zealanders who fought in the battle which began on May 20, 1941. Of those soldiers, 671 died, 967 were wounded, 2180 were taken prisoner and two, Captain Charles Upham and Sergeant Alfred Hulme, won Victoria Crosses.
Sir Jerry, a former chief of the New Zealand Defense Force, is set to attend a number of commemorative events planned for this event which reflects on one of the most decisive battles of WWII, where it was the first and last time that paratroopers were deployed on such a vast scale from the Germans to capture a target during WWII.
Events that Sir Jerry will be attending include an Australian commemorative service, the unveiling of a memorial plaque at 42nd Street, a battlefield tour as well as attending the New Zealand reception and a ceremony at the New Zealand monument at Galatas.
Throughout the commemorative event, there will be a service of remembrance at Souda Bay War Cemetery and ceremonies at the German Military Cemetery and the Maleme Airport memorial.
Furthermore, Education Minister Hekia Parata has expressed pride in representing New Zealand at the commemorations because her uncle and grandfather, as well as other members of her extended family, who fought in the battle as members of the 28th Maori Battalion. Before leaving for Crete, Parata explained, “The battle may not be as well-known as some other World War II conflicts but it left an indelible stamp on many families. I grew up knowing people named for places in Crete.”