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American Forces

Events In History

2 August 1983

The visit of the nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Texas sparked anti-nuclear rallies on land and sea.

3 April 1943

Soldiers and civilians slugged it out on the streets of Wellington during the ‘Battle of Manners Street’, the best-known clash between New Zealanders and American servicemen during the Second World War.

12 June 1942

Over the following two years, about 100,000 American servicemen would spend time in New Zealand, which became a rear base for the Allies’ counter-offensive against Japan.


US Forces in New Zealand

The first American soldiers landed on New Zealand soil in June 1942, beginning an 'invasion' which would have a profound impact on both visitors and hosts over the next 18 months. Read the full article

Page 1 - US forces in New Zealand

The first American soldiers landed on New Zealand soil in June 1942, beginning an 'invasion' which would have a profound impact on both visitors and hosts over the next 18

Page 2 - Overview

Overview of US forces in New Zealand during the Second World

Page 3 - Arrival

The ‘invasion’ began in Auckland on 12 June 1942, when five transport ships carrying soldiers of the US Army sailed into Waitematā Harbour. Two days later, Marines landed in

Page 4 - The camps

American life in New Zealand between 1942 and 1944 was centred on the camps. Most of these were within marching distance or a short train journey from Wellington or Auckland. Some

Page 5 - Having fun US style

Although the American forces worked hard, they also craved time off. New Zealand leisure habits were very different to American ones, so the visitors devised their own forms of

Page 6 - Having fun NZ style

For many people of both nations, the most memorable aspect of the American invasion was the home visits. Often these were arranged formally, with New Zealand families signing up

Page 7 - Yankee boys, Kiwi girls

Romantic liaisons between American servicemen and New Zealand women inevitably developed. The soldiers were starved of female company, and Kiwi women enjoyed the American men's

Page 8 - Economic impact

The presence of thousands of well-paid Americans in New Zealand as part of a large army which needed provisioning sparked a minor economic boom that had some long-term effects on

Page 9 - Americans and Māori

After considerable tension between some Americans and Māori, strenuous efforts were made to build inter-racial bridges.

Page 10 - The end or a beginning?

The end of the American invasion was a gradual process which started in late 1943. For some New Zealanders it was a relief to see the men go; for others it was an occasion of

Page 11 - Further information

Books and further reading relating to US forces in NZ during the Second World

War in the Pacific

Thousands of New Zealanders fought in the Pacific War, which was sparked by the Japanese bombing of the American naval base at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. It was a conflict fought on a vast scale over huge distances. For the New Zealanders, this was a war fought close to home. Read the full article

Page 4 - The final stages

Once the tide had turned in favour of the United States and its allies, American troops began 'island hopping' through the central Pacific, taking one island after another.


The military alliance that fought against the Central Powers was known as the Allies. Initially this alliance was based around the four great powers of Russia, France, Japan and the British Empire, along with the smaller states of Serbia, Montenegro and Belgium that also went to war in 1914. Read the full article

Page 12 - United States of America

Key information and statistics about the United States of America during the First World

Personal effects of an American killed in the Pacific war, including a well-thumbed copy of Meet New Zealand

Images and media for American Forces