A military commemorative service for the two New Zealand soldiers killed during an ambush in Afghanistan will be held at Burnham Military Camp tomorrow afternoon.
Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone were killed when their patrols went to the aid of ambushed Afghan police in Bamiyan province on Saturday night (NZT).
Another six New Zealanders were injured. Five have been transferred to a military hospital in Germany for treatment while one remains in Afghanistan in a serious but stable condition.
The Taleban has claimed responsibility for the attack but it has not yet been confirmed by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
The families of the slain soldiers watched from a dimly-lit Christchurch International Airport runway as the bodies arrived home late last night.
An emotional Ramp Ceremony was conducted on board the United States Air Force C-17 plane which returned the two 26-year-olds.
Now, they will be honoured with a military service in their honour at Burnham Military Camp, outside Christchurch, before being returned to their families for private funerals.
The service will start at 1pm tomorrow and is expected to last 2-3 hours.
The NZDF today were being tight-lipped over details for the service.
However, it is expected to include full ceremonial honours, including a military salute from the Funeral Firing party who will fire three volleys in to the air. It will be attended by senior military officials, personnel from the 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment and Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles, and family members, while the Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae has confirmed he will "speak on behalf of the nation".
Prime Minister John Key has been criticised for not attending, opting instead to watch his son Max play for the New Zealand under-17 baseball team in a tournament in America.
Mr Key has, however, visited the bereaved families to pay his respects and explain why he wouldn't be at the service.
In his place tomorrow, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English will represent the Government, while Labour leader David Shearer will also be there.
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage confirmed that the New Zealand flag will be flown at half-mast on all Government and public buildings tomorrow.
Lance Corporal Durrer and Lance Corporal Malone were farewelled with a haka and ramp ceremony at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Monday.
Pralli Durrer was from Christchurch and joined the army in June 2004.
Rory Malone was from Auckland and joined the army in 2002.
- APNZBy Kurt Bayer @KurtBayerAPNZ Email Kurt