New book explores 3NZ Division in Pacific War


Pacific Star
3NZ Division in the South Pacific in World War II
By Reg Newell

Published by Exisle
RRP $44.99 in hardback ISBN 9781927187838

The fact that author Reg Newell has practiced law in Upper Hutt, Wellington for about 30 years hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his passion – military history. After gaining a master’s degree through the American Military University, he completed a doctorate through Massey University on New Zealand’s involvement in the South Pacific in World War Two. This book, Pacific Star, is based on his doctoral research.

He gives a very good brief overview of the origins of the Great Pacific War before tackling the details of the conflict.

It seems incredible that the war in the South Pacific came to be seen as an easy war, generally overlooked (with the exception of Guadalcanal) by historians. From ignorance of what the soldiers were called upon to endure, the notion arose that service in the South Pacific was somehow less worthy than the ‘real war’ in Europe against the Nazis.

This attitude continued in the post-war world and today the soldiers of 3NZ Division are all but forgotten.

Pacific Star sets the record straight, shedding new light on the sacrifices and tribulations which the soldiers of 3NZ Division had to endure in the service of the Allied cause. The book covers their initial deployment in Fiji and New Caledonia, and describes the major battles the division fought in the Solomons: Vella Lavella, the Treasury Islands and the Green Islands, as well as their sometimes strained relationship with the US military.

Reg Newell has interviewed veterans for this book, which includes new maps and previously unpublished photographs.

I think this book is going to be much sought after by New Zealand readers with an interest in military history, their own in particular.

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