Welcome to our site
A Word from the General Representative
Welcome and thank you for visiting our website.
Our delegation was created on 01 January 2015. You may be surprised to find the ‘Souvenir Français’ (‘French Remembrance’ in English) at the bottom of the French Hexagon, but this symbolises the philosophy of our organisation:
‘We wish to preserve the memory of those who fought valiantly to uphold freedom and order for France, whether they were French Natives or Foreigners.’
New Zealand has two graves of soldiers who meet this definition:
Firstly, Private Tetiamane ATEA, Tahitian ‘poilu’ (World War 1 French soldier) who died from a disease he contracted in service in September 1918 when his ship made a stopover in Wellington. He was buried with full military honours in the Karori cemetery by his NZ brothers in arms.
Secondly, Lieutenant-Colonel James Waddell, a New Zealander who fought with the French Foreign Legion for many years under the ‘kepi blanc’ (white-topped French military cap worn in the ‘Legion Etrangere’). He returned to New Zealand in his last years and died aged 82 at home in Levin, where he is buried.
Our organisation is determined to continue to raise up and preserve the memories of veterans who have fought for France with honour. In this we are supported by France, the Pacific French Territories and New Zealand.
For example, our delegation is proud to be an official partner of the exhibition ‘Never A Week Goes By – New Caledonia and New Zealand in World War I ‘ which travelled through New Zealand’s South Island in 2015 and in New Caledonia in 2016.
Finally, the delegation is willing to attend any commemorations to which it is invited.
On 11 November 2015, the Souvenir Français represented France in New Zealand, at the Armistice Day World War I Commemorations. This was organised by the Returned Services Association of Ruatoki who were honouring, in particular, two Maori veterans who distinguished themselves fighting for France (one in Flanders and the other in Le Quesnoy).
Our organisation is free from any political, religious or philosophical link, and is open to anyone who shares our values and aims, whether or not they are French.
Thank you for visiting our website. I hope you have found it interesting and informative.
Mr. Olivier SCHILLÉ
Le Souvenir Français (NZ)