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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 November 2006, 17:58 GMT
Queen honours New Zealand's dead
Queen inspects the Royal Guard of Honour
The Queen thanked New Zealanders for their bravery and sacrifice

A special remembrance ceremony has been held at London's Hyde Park to mark the bond between New Zealand and the UK.

Dignitaries, war veterans and about 1,500 New Zealanders watched the Queen dedicate the UK's first memorial to New Zealand's war dead.

She praised the sons and daughters of New Zealand for standing by Britain in its hour of need.

Among those attending were the Prince of Wales, Prime Minister Tony Blair and New Zealand premier Helen Clark.

The dedication began with a royal guard of honour formed by the largest contingent of New Zealand forces seen in the UK since World War II.

Shared sacrifice

Afterwards, there was a fly-past by New Zealand and UK aircraft followed by performances from Maori cultural groups.

The 1m monument, called the South Stand, features 16 cross-shaped bronze pillars and was designed to commemorate the shared sacrifice of Britain and New Zealand during wartime.

Ms Clark said she hoped it could be a part of London that New Zealanders could always call home.

Greg Worth, who lives in London but was born in New Zealand, said it was an important monument.

"All the other groups of people have been recognised around here, and I think it is great that New Zealand is too."

The bonds of friendship between our two countries, remain as strong as ever
Tony Blair

The Queen told the audience that New Zealanders had written themselves into a special place in the history books.

"Many of them for deeds of exceptional bravery and sacrifice.

"But most of them for simply giving their all in duty, in courage and in dogged determination to fight for peace and freedom from tyranny."

Mr Blair said the link between the two nations was not just historic.

"The bonds of friendship between our two countries, remain as strong as ever.

"Our peoples are close, they come and go between our two countries as much as ever, we invest in each others' economies, we share culture and sport - where friends become rivals."

Other members of the Royal family to join the service included Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal and the Duke of Kent.

More than 250,000 New Zealanders have served with British forces during the wars of the 20th Century.


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