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Radio Waatea

12:30pm - 01:00pm
Ed Sheeran

Veterans sidelined as army brings back dead
©On File

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An army veteran says the New Zealand Defence Force has hijacked the process of repatriating the remains of service personnel and their dependants from overseas graves.

Teams are in Malaysia and Singapore disinterring the remains of 28 NZDF personnel and one child who died between 1955 and 1971.

That was the period during which bodies would be brought back only if the families paid the costs.

Hemana Waaka says the repatriation project came about because of the pressure generated by a grass roots campaign by relative and former comrades of the dead, but those people have been ignored.

"To this day I have not seen anything, no one has come back to talk to us about it, and I'm talking about the veterans who knew these fellows, so why are they sending people over there who have no idea who these guy are. These are the people we served with," Mr Waaka says.

He wants to know what is being done with the gravestones and crosses from the foreign cemeteries.

Copyright © 2018, UMA Broadcasting Ltd:

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