Kapiti US Marines Trust

Kapiti US Marines Trust

The KUSMT's goal is to collect, preserve and promote World War II US Armed Forces history from 1942-1944 on the Kapiti Coast


The Kapiti U.S. Marines Trust (KUSMT) was established in 2009 to collect, conserve, exhibit, and promote WWII US Marines history from 1942-1944 – particularly in camps Paekakariki, Mackay and Russell, in Kapiti, New Zealand. The Trust is registered with the Charities Commission (CC46035) and represents a number of local, regional and national groups with heritage and conservation interests.

While our focus is the history surrounding Camps Russell, MacKay and Paekakariki we also have an interest in Marines camps in other parts of the Wellington region and in the social history and friendships between Kiwis and Americans during this brief but all-important encounter.

For more information visit: www.marinenz.com.

More about us

The Kapiti U.S.Marines Trust established in 2010 promotes the collection, conservation and exhibition of WWII U.S.Marines’ history in Kapiti.

We tell the story of the ‘friendly invasion’ of U.S.Armed Forces in NZ between 1942-44 for future generations.

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Latest update

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Recent Activities  18 May 2023

Annual Report

1 January – 31 December 2022


80th Anniversary: 2022 saw the 80th anniversary of the (1942) arrival of United States Marines into New Zealand. This anniversary provided an opportunity for the Kapiti US Marines Trust (along with its funders and supporters) to deliver key events and projects, some of which had been delayed until this year by the Covid 19 epidemic.

1/ Deposit of The Norm Hatch Collection into Nga Taonga Sound and Vision.

The collection of photos and films by Captain Norm Hatch was formally deposited into the national film, sound and television archive Nga Taonga in June in time for the anniverary date. Communications promoting the significance of this collection and its availability for public research were made by KUSMT and Nga Taonga. This signifcant contribution to the audio visual memory of Aotearao New Zealand was made with Funding from the United States Embassy.

2/ Production of ‘Meet New Zealand’ a film by Steve Lahood.

KUSMT commissioned film maker Steve Lahood to make a short film using original film footage and photos from the Norm Hatch Collection. This film is for the KUSMT to use for public outreach to tell the story of US Marines in Kāpiti and New Zealand and it will be included as central resource on our website.

3/ A ‘Norm Hatch Collection’ section was designed for inclusion on the KUSMT website. This section highlights the ‘Meet New Zealand’ Short film along with photographs and instructions on how to access the wider collection via Nga Taonga.

3/ Screening event of ‘Meet New Zealand’ and Community Outreach.

A commujity screening of Meet New Zealand was held on 21 June with a presentation by film maker Steve La Hood in the Village Hall in Paekākāriki. This event was also used to promote the purpose of the trust, to the local community and invited guests on its activities and called for new trust members and volunteers.

4/ Camp Paekākāriki. The funding, design, build and installation of the project ‘Camp Paekakriki’ interpretation site.

This project was worked on over 2021 and 2022 and was the major project completed in the 80th anniversary year. The interpretation site consists of an outdoor gallery of images with narrative explaining the camp site history and interaction of US Marines with the people of Paekākāriki. It was intended to be installed in June but had to be postponed twice due to serious bad weather and the instalation staff impacted by Covid.

It was agreed to move the installation and opening event to November 13 when there would be better weather. This new date provided the time for further engagement with mana whenua. The final site design includes a pou as part of the site that honours Miriona Budge and her whanau as the Camp Paekākāriki structure is placed on land formerly owned by Ngati Houmia. A seat was also added complete the precinct to a high standard.

On Sunday 13 November a public blessing by Ngati Haumia and opening of the Camp Paekākāriki interpretation site was held. Representatives of stakeholders and funding representatives included US Embassy, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, NZ Defence Force, New Zealand American Association, NZ Military Vehicles Club (Kāpiti Branch) local residents and friends and associates of the Kapiti US Marines Trust.

Major funding for the interpretation site came from the Embassy of the United States of America and Paekākāriki Services Trust. Greater Wellington Regional Council parks staff supported the instalation of the structure. The project was managed by historian and Kapiti United States Marines Trust trustee Anthony Dreaver.

Trustees in 2022 were

Richard Benge. Chair

Anthony Dreaver. Deputy Chair, Historian and Projects

Allison Webber. Secretary, Projects and Funding

Sue Harris. Treasurer

Larry Keim. Historian and New Zealand American Association representative.

Basil Walker. Trust Secretariate Support.

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