Repatriation of the Remains of Military Personnel and Dependants 1955 - 1971

Te Auraki (The Return)

In April 2017 the Government extended an offer to families of service personnel and dependants buried abroad since 1 January 1955 to repatriate them at public expense.

The Chief of Defence Force  will report back to Government in early 2018 with a detailed plan and cost of the repatriations from Malaysia and Singapore. The report will also explore the option of extending the offer of repatriation to cover other service personnel and dependants buried overseas since 1955.

Group Captain Carl Nixon, ONZM has been appointed to manage the project. Group Captain Nixon will be overseeing the team that will liaise with families, plan the logistics and technical tasks, provide cultural and ceremonial advice, and engage  with other government agencies and overseas governments. The name of the project is Te Auraki (The Return).

We are committed to making sure that the repatriation is well managed and co-ordinated so the return of loved ones is conducted with respect and dignity. To that end we have established three principles that will feature in the management of Te Auraki.

First, the decision to repatriate will be made by the family. In time, we will make an offer to the family outlining how the repatriation will happen, but the final decision to repatriate will be made by the family.

Second, there will be equality in the manner in which those who are buried abroad are repatriated. By equality, we mean that regardless of background, status, wealth, or cause of death everyone will be treated the same.

Third, the repatriation processes will be in accordance with current New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) policies, which include NZDF cultural protocols in the repatriation, and observing family protocols and customs in the re-interments.

Families are encouraged to register with the NZDF by e-mailing

This page was last reviewed on 21 August 2017, and is current.