A new trust that will preserve the history of U.S. Marines activity on the Kapiti Coast during World War II was launched by Mayor Jenny Rowan of Kapiti Coast District Council on Memorial Day 31 May 2010 at a flag raising ceremony in Queen Elizabeth Park Paekakariki. The ceremony was attended by Charge d’ Affairs from the US Embassy Mr. Bob Clarke, Public Affairs Officer Mr. Mark Wenig and staff from the U.S. Embassy; MP for Otaki Mr. Nathan Guy, Commodore Pat Williams of New Zealand Defence Force, Kapiti Coast District Councilors, representatives of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, US Marines writer Joan Ellis and many friends.
This community event was the first by the Kapiti U.S. Marines Trust with support from people of Paekakariki and district. Paekakariki Primary School kapa haka group with teachers performed, Air Force Cadets from No 49 Squadron Paraparaumu marched and Corporal Connor Johnson raised the New Zealand flag. U.S. Marines, SSgt Jarrod Birchler and Staff Sgt Jacob Alfano attended and raised the American flag. Allie Webber, Secretary of the Kapiti US Marines Trust explained the history of the Marines on the Kapiti Coast during World War II, Rev John Murray lead the prayers and Cheryl Hollinger (Associate Principal Trumpet with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra) played TAPS. A wreath was laid by Mayor Rowan on behalf of the Kapiti U.S Marines Trust along with Joan Ellis and Carol Reihana whose mother and family cared for US Marines during World War II. Mr. Martin Gibbs loaned his original WWII US Army jeep for the occasion.
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