The Kapiti U.S. Marines Trust (KUSMT) was established in 2009 by the Mayor of Kapiti, Jenny Rowan. The Trust represents a number of local, regional and national groups with an interest in the collection, conservation, exhibition, and promotion of Marines’ History – particularly in camps Paekakariki, Mackay and Russell, in southern Kapiti.
Read more about the Trustees.
Groups represented on the Trust are: the Kapiti Coast District Council, the Greater Wellington Regional Council, the United States Embassy, the New Zealand American Association, the Second Marines Division, the Paekakariki Station Precinct Trust, Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park, and the Guardians of Whareroa Farm.
The Trust has an association with: the Ministry of Culture & Heritage, tangata whenua, Old St Paul’s, and the RSA. It also has plans to connect with a number of other heritage and environment groups with an interest in New Zealand U.S. Marines history.
To benefit the local community of Paekakariki and Kapiti by telling the story of:
- The three Marines’ camps in Paekakariki during World War 2
- To provide a history for future generations
- To enhance the Kapiti/ Wellington regional collection of Marines’ history for local, national, and international benefit
- To foster New Zealand/U.S. Relationships
- Fund, host, and promote exhibitions and events related to U.S. Armed Forces history in Kapiti and the Wellington region.
- Community education through seminars, events and exhibitions.
- Develop a web-based history portal to tell the story of U.S Armed Forced and their association with Kapiti.
- Re-create the Yankee Trail connecting key sites in the three former Marines’ camps: Paekakariki, Russell and Mackay.
- Promote cultural exchange between New Zealand and the United States.
- Raise funds to help the Trust achieve its goals.
Completion and expansion of website
- Work with the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and stakeholder groups to re-establish the Yankee Trail connecting the three former Marines’ camps in southern Kapiti.
- Working with stakeholder groups to organise memorial celebrations for the 70th Anniversary of the “Friendly Invasion” of American Armed forces in New Zealand – particularly the Kapiti region.
- Design, build and install interpretative signage to highlight key points of history in camps Paekakariki, Mackay and Russell
- Up-grade and maintain key Marines’ buildings and assets.
- Engage with other districts in the region to research, promote and display Marines’ heritage
Heritage Tourism opportunities
Development of the Yankee Trail as a family friendly cycling and walking track, linking the three former Marines’ camp sites to other cycling tracks in Queen Elizabeth Park and Whareroa Farm.
Connect three Kapiti Marines’ camps to other key Marines sites in the Wellington region.
Promote the Kapiti/Wellington Marines’ history to the wider Marines/Armed Forces community in the United States especially through the new $57 million Arizona Memorial Museum in Hawaii, and the National Museum of Marines in Quantico Virginia (the two largest Marines Museums in the U.S.
Work with heritage and tourism agencies to develop a series of niche adventure tourism/heritage packages that include Marines history as part of their story.