NZ's Vietnam veterans gather 50 years on

(3 News)
(3 News)

Around 130 Kiwi Vietnam War veterans were guests of honour today at Linton Military Camp to mark 50 years since the first New Zealand combat forces were deployed.

It was the first time in 10 years New Zealand's Vietnam veterans have been together – and it is likely the last.

Like many Vietnam veterans, Peter Botiga suffers from the effects of Agent Orange.

"There's guys here I haven't seen in 40 years," he says. "I had to come because I might not see them again."

Of the 800 New Zealander gunners who fought there, just over half are still alive.

Nearly 40 Kiwis died fighting for various units in Vietnam.

This month marks 50 years since the first 120-man regiment was deployed – five of those gunners were killed.

3 News