Gripping Korean War stories captured in photos


Rare photos that capture the unforgettable stories of human courage and fateful moments told through the lens of New Zealand soldiers during the Korean War are currently on display at Uxbridge Arts and Culture in Howick.

The war photo exhibition titled Forever Peace commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.

Arrowhead Hill Hazard Excavation in DMZ, Korea by MND MAKRI.

The exhibition of compelling imagery at Malcolm Smith Gallery, organised by Happy World TV and Korea New Zealand Cultural Association, is open to the public till July 18.

At the inauguration of the exhibition attended by local politicians and Korean dignitaries, ninety-two year-old Korean War veteran Wally Wyatt said it was a war like none other.

“By that I mean, it was waged by United Nations against an aggressor country. There were no official declaration of war against the aggressor country and no official peace treaty to mark the end,” he said.

Korean War Veteran Wally Wyatt with Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown and former mayoral candidate John Hong. Photo supplied

The war began when thousands of North Korean troops descended overnight onto South Korea.

“With not enough New Zealand troops available when asked, the NZ government decided to call for volunteers

to man an Artillery Regimen with supporting elements.

“In nine days, 5982 adventurers put their name forward,” said Wally who served in the 16th Field Regiment for three years.

“A total of 1044 men were selected to serve in the first ‘K’ Force Regiment. At least 60 per cent of them had previous military experience. The initial term of service was 18 months.”

The exhibition showcases rare photos shot by the New Zealand Korean War veterans during the chaos of war.

NZ soldiers on the way to their home, at Duckchun Railway Station in Korea. Photo supplied

There is a wealth of information

Among the photographs on exhibit is a selection telling the story of Robert (Bob) Marchioni of the RNZN whose body was never found after the North Korea War.

Photos from the Ministry of National Defence (MND) for Killed in Action (KIA) Recovery and Identification unit, known as MAKRI also tell a gripping tale of wartime experiences.