A long time ago, in the small sleepy town of Kāpiti, north of Wellington, thousands of Americans arrived and made a big impression. Kāpiti News editor David Haxton has a look back at what was coined "the friendly invasion".

More than 15,000 US Marines were stationed in and around Kāpiti's Queen Elizabeth Park during part of World War II.

Their arrival, part of a wider contingent spread across New Zealand, was prompted by the growing threat of a Japanese invasion.

New Zealand troops were fighting campaigns in North Africa and Europe so the US Marine Corps arrival was very welcome.