New Zealand High Commission Nuku'alofa, Tonga

New Zealand team cleans up Soldier’s Grave in memory of ANZAC Day

Defence Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Brown, Sioeli Mo'unga, Jamie Berwick, Warrant Officer Jeff Thomas and Deputy High Commissioner Peter Shackleton

Over the weekend a New Zealand team visited ‘Eua to tend to ‘Soldier’s Grave’, a local heritage site. Ahead of ANZAC day on Wednesday 25 April, which remembers fallen New Zealand and Australian soldiers, the team cleared the bush and cleaned the grave.

The team was made up of Deputy High Commissioner Peter Shackleton, his partner Jamie Berwick, Defence Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Brown, and Warrant Officer Jeff Thomas. They were guided by Sioeli Mo‘unga from the Hideaway Resort.

The grave is a 1-2 hour hike to the highest point on ‘Eua, and where the buried solider, Lance Corporal A E Yealands, asked to be buried if anything happened to him during his time in Tonga during the Second World War.

Peter Shackleton said, “New Zealand and Tonga both observe ANZAC day because of our important shared history during times of global conflict. It was a privilege to be able to mark this by tending to the grave of a fallen solider here in Tonga”

Yealands was a member of the Coastwatchers, a unit tasked with monitoring the seas off Pacific islands for any evidence of Japanese or German naval activity. His death came during a dispute with another soldier.

The New Zealand High Commission is hosting this year’s ANZAC day dawn service on Pangai Si‘i. The public is welcome to attend and is asked to be seated by 5.45 am. A torch to read the programme is recommended.

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