The idea of a New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was first raised by the then New Zealand Prime Minister, William Massey, following the interment of the British Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey on 11 November 1920.
In 2002 the Ministry for Culture and Heritage was given the task to establish a Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial in Wellington and arrangements were made to repatriate the remains of a New Zealand soldier from a World War One cemetery in France. The soldier's name, rank, regiment, race, religion and all other details are unknown. He represents and honours all New Zealanders who died during war service.
The casket containing the remains of the Unknown Warrior was flown by a New Zealand Defence Force aircraft to Wellington. After a military welcome at the airport on Wednesday 10 November, the casket was transported under escort to Parliament Buildings where the Unknown Warrior lay-in-state overnight to enable the New Zealand public to pay their respects.
TVNZ broadcast the ceremony live in what was one of the biggest outside broadcasts undertaken. Thirty cameras and over 100 crew assembled in Wellington to cover the procession from Parliament to the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, the full State Memorial Service, the procession right through central Wellington during the lunch hour and the Entombment Ceremony at the National War Memorial in Buckle St.
Ian Johnstone and Alison Parr present the full story of the Unknown Warrior in this extended four hour special. From the blessing of the site, the handover ceremony in France of the remains of a First World War Soldier, through the arrival and full activities in Wellington on 10 and 11 November 2004, Armistice Day.