Keith Holyoake and Lyndon B. Johnson

Keith Holyoake and Lyndon B. Johnson

Best of friends: visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Keith Holyoake (left) and outgoing President Lyndon B. Johnson stand together at the White House in October 1968.

The Vietnam War was an important test of New Zealand’s relationship with the United States. Holyoake’s decision to commit combat troops to Vietnam avoided any confrontation with Washington – in contrast to New Zealand’s anti-nuclear stance in the 1980s. The alliance with the United States remained intact at the end of the war. However, significant numbers of New Zealanders were by now critical of the country’s perceived subservience to the United States in security matters.

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