Korean ambassador Sang Jin Lee made a special visit to Whanganui this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.
When North Korea invaded the South in 1950 there were 99 volunteers from the Whanganui region among the 6100 New Zealanders to answer the United Nations call to go to South Korea's aid.
They would become known as "Kayforce" or "K Force".
Local Korean Society president Deog Kim had invited the recently appointed ambassador for his first visit to Whanganui to meet veterans and family members and lay a wreath at the Korean War Memorial at Pukenamu Queens Park, which the society worked with veterans to install in 2015.
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Sometimes referred to as "the forgotten war" the conflict in Korea involved the use of napalm bombs and the New Zealand volunteers endured extremes of heat and cold in unfamiliar and difficult terrains.
Korean War veterans Jim Neilson and Ron Pocock, along with family members of late veterans, joined the ambassador and Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall for lunch at Club Metro after the ceremony.
Supporter Jacqueline Brand-Holt said Whanganui's Korean community supports veterans and their families.
"They have had some difficult times through Covid-19 and were happy to be gathered," she said.
"During lunch, the ambassador eloquently talked about the warm heart of Whanganui and how touched he was to visit the local memorial."
Brand-Holt said the Korean Consulate offered opportunities for the descendants of K Forces.
"If people in Whanganui have those links it would be good to communicate with the local Korean community."