Veterans of the Korean War will gather one last time on Wednesday for a final parade before the national association representing them ceases to exist.

Wally Wyatt, 89, who served in the K-Force with the 16th Field Regiment said the decision to close the NZ Korean Veterans Association was because the group had lost the battle against old age.

The average age of the vets is now late 80s and early 90s.

"I'm sad in some ways, but it's an inevitable thing, and it's like everything in life," Wyatt said.


"Everything has to finish somewhere along the line, and it is better to finish when there's two or three people around rather than wait until there's just one person left, and he says 'God, what's happened to everybody'."

About 200 people, including 50 veterans of the war will march outside the Auckland National Museum to mark the winding up of the organisation.

Those attending the final parade will include Phil Goff and the Chief of Army Major General Peter Te Aroha Emile Kelly.

Wyatt is the national treasurer of the association, and for the past 25 years, he was also the editor of its newsletter, K Force Despatches.

"We put a list in each time of the numbers that were dying, and it's just going bang, bang, bang, bang ..." Wyatt said.

Wyatt, from Auckland, said the association still had about 300-400 members, but most could not attend meetings or events because they couldn't walk, were sick or in rest homes.

The closure of the association, started in 1956, was mooted two years ago when members voted for it to be wound up.

"It's all because of one fact, we're all getting older. No other reason for it," Wyatt said.

Wyatt said, however, that some regional branches, including Auckland, will continue to operate despite the death of the national body.

About 3800 New Zealanders served in the K-Force and 1300 in Royal New Zealand Navy deployment.

More than 30 lost their lives, 79 were wounded and one was taken prisoner.

The war ended in 1953, but a reduced Kiwi contingent remained in a garrison role until it was withdrawn in 1957.

Chang Soon Cha, consul-general of Korea to New Zealand, said it was sad to witness the association's end, which had acted as a central gathering point for those who served in Korea.

"More than six decades have passed since the Korean War, however, time has not diminished the respect and appreciation we, Koreans feel for the veterans," Cha said.

"On behalf of the people and the government of the Republic of Korea, I would like to pay a sincere gratitude to all New Zealand Korean War veterans who gave their services for our future."

"Thanks for the sacrifice and friendship, which have been a valuable foundation to strengthen our two countries' bond and co-operation."

Diane Lee, Korea-NZ Cultural Association spokeswoman, said even after the association closes, the contributions of the "brave Kiwis" will be remembered by Koreans.

"What they have done for our homeland ... it will live on in our hearts, not just this generation but many generations to come," Lee said.