Chania Day in New Zealand – Wellington mayor honours New Zealand’s Crete connection

(Scoop News NZ) Today, Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has honoured the Capital’s close connections with the Greek community at a wreath-laying service for the Battle of Crete.

The Mayor joined Defence Minister Craig Foss and Annette King MP at Pukeahu National War Memorial, members of the Diplomatic community and Defence Force officials to honour those who lost their lives in one of World War Two’s most significant battles involving New Zealand troops. She then joined the President of the NZ Cretan Society, George Kosmodakis, at the Greek-New Zealand memorial on Kent Terrace.

“Today we remember the deaths and devastation of World War Two, and we also honour the close bonds that were formed,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

“Wellington acknowledges a close connection with Crete through a Historical Sister City relationship with Hania and the strong Greek community in the Capital.

“The many Greek citizens immigrating to Wellington after World War Two have contributed mightily to the Capital’s diversity, our strong sense of community and our international connections.

“We’ve been reminded of the extreme hardships of war through the fascinating portrayal of the Battle of Crete and the human connections made in Jim Moriarty’s The Battalion, performed several times in the Capital at Te Papa and various schools. Today we renew our commitment to peace and appreciation of diversity,” she says.

Another cultural creation born of the Battle of Crete is the book, “Ned and Katina – A True Love Story” by Patricia Grace DCNZM, QSO.

The Hania-Wellington Historical Sister City relationship was formed in 1984, celebrating the contribution of the Greek and Cretan communities to Wellington and the strong links formed since WWII.

A special relationship developed between New Zealand and the Hania area of Crete. This area was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting during the 1941 Battle of Crete, which was between New Zealand and German troops.

Wellington celebrates ‘Hania Day’ on 20th May, when commemorations for the Battle of Crete take place. As well, Lloyd Street in the suburb of Mt Victoria was renamed Hania Street.