A granite tablet, designed and carved by Venezuelan-American architect Monica Ponce de Leon, will be taking its place inside New Zealand’s Pukeahu National War Memorial Park later this year.
The tablet will serve as a memorial to the longstanding friendship between the United States and New Zealand, which began in World War II when more than 150,000 US servicemen and women came to New Zealand.
During World War II, the US military used New Zealand as a base to prepare for battles in the South Pacific and as a station for medical care and replenishment. Many US servicemen and women were posted in the homes of New Zealand families across the country.
Since then, the United States has joined New Zealand in almost every overseas conflict it has been involved in.
“This memorial will preserve our shared history, our shared values, and our shared commitment to making our world a better place,” said Scott Brown, the United States ambassador to New Zealand.
The tablet was commissioned by the US government and the American Battle Monuments Commission, and will be carved in Madison, Wisconsin.
The memorial is expected to arrive in New Zealand in May, and will be the fifth to take its place in Pukeahu alongside memorials from Australia, Turkey, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
Links between the two countries extend beyond the military, and include healthy economic relations. US goods exports to New Zealand totaled $3.59 billion in 2016, and the United States imported $4.07 billion in goods from New Zealand. US exports to New Zealand include aircraft, machinery, agricultural products, vehicles, and optic and medical instruments. While US imports from New Zealand include frozen beef, milk protein concentrate, wine, and machinery. In 2015, almost 300,000 New Zealanders visited the United States, spending over $1.3 billion dollars.
The United States and New Zealand also share 21 sister city relationships.