Rare footage of US Marines in NZ during WWII released

Source: 1News

Previously unseen footage of the US Marines stationed in New Zealand during World War II has gone on show.

The clips have been released to mark 80 years to the day since the American troops arrived in Wellington to prepare for war in the Pacific.

"There's footage there of tanks at Petone foreshore, which I certainly didn't know anything about. You see the barracks and the training and all the military manoeuvres that were going on," Sarah Davy of Ngā Taonga sound and vision said.

It was filmed by Norm Hatch, an Academy Award-winning marine cinematographer.

The 29 news reels were originally meant to be edited into an American propaganda film, but it was never made. It's also never been seen in New Zealand either.

"The footage was banned, we understand, by the US government," Davy said.

"It was army footage, it wasn’t meant to be seen and for it to make its way back to NZ is remarkable."

Around 21,000 marines were stationed in camps across Wellington in 1942 and 1943. Many were along the Kapiti Coast, and a community group there helped retrieve the films from the US.

"It is extremely precious and amazing footage and we want the people of New Zealand to access it," Allison Webber of the Kapiti US Marines Trust said.

"I'm also really excited to see pictures of Dame Rangi at Whakarewarewa, showing marines around the thermal area with Eleanor Roosevelt, I'm mean that's really precious."

New Zealanders can see the precious footage for themselves on Ngā Taonga's website.