The Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne will travel to Israel today, where they will represent New Zealand at official commemorations to mark the centennial of the Battle of Beersheba.
The Governor-General will also visit the United Arab Emirates and the occupied Palestinian Territories during her trip.
The commemorations, which will take place on 31 October, include a joint Anzac service with Australian representatives, the opening of an Anzac Museum, and a New Zealand national service.
The Battle of Beersheba (Be’er Sheva in modern Israel), took place on 31 October, 1917. It was a joint New Zealand-Australia action and an important strategic victory for British Empire forces. The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade suffered 26 casualties, with eight men killed during the fighting.
Dame Patsy and Sir David will depart from New Zealand tonight and return on 3 November.
The Commemorative programme includes:
Monday 30 October:
1700-1930: Reception in Rishon LeZion marking New Zealand’s service in the area, and opening of the New Zealand art exhibition ‘Sand in the Apricot Jam’
Tuesday 31 October:
0900: Joint Anzac Service, Be’er Sheva War Cemetery
1015: Official opening of the Anzac Museum, near the cemetery
1400: New Zealand Service at Tel Be’er Sheva National Park
1715: Australian Service and ‘Gala Barbecue’, Park of the Australian Soldier