american forces

Events In History


US Forces in New Zealand

  • 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.

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  • Page 2 – Overview

    Overview of US forces in New Zealand during the Second World War.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

War in the Pacific

  • 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.

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  • Page 4 - The final stagesOnce 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.


  • Allies

    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.

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  • Page 12 - United States of AmericaKey information and statistics about the United States of America during the First World

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