Vietnam War entertainers awarded medals

Vietnam War entertainers awarded medals

Performers who served New Zealand by keeping Allied troops entertained during the Vietnam War were awarded medals on Wednesday morning.

Those eligible were awarded the General Service Medal and the Operational Service Medal through the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), at a presentation at the Government House in Auckland.

The medals were awarded to those who performed in Vietnam for more than 30 days between 1965 and 1972. Seven of the entertainers are still alive.

"Well, being recognised - the medal is the final part - it's the conclusion of the years you put in entertaining. Particularly for the military, it's very special, because we saw things there that you probably won't see again, at least in our time," says entertainer Mahora Peters.

NZDF chief Lieutenant General Tim Keating it was "especially poignant for those families of the entertainers who have passed".

"We hope that the families will view these medals as we in the NZDF do. They are taonga (treasures) inherent with the mana of the person they are awarded to."

Lt Gen Keating said entertainers played "crucial roles" throughout the conflict, with many serving six- or 12-month stints in Vietnam, giving up to 20 performances a week.