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"The Crown extends to New Zealand Vietnam veterans and their families an apology for the manner in which their loyal service in the name of New Zealand was not recognised as it should have been, when it should have been, and for inadequate support extended to them and their families after their return home from the conflict," the Prime Minister said.
Politicians of all persuasions endorsed the Prime Minister's apology and paid their respects to the 38 who died in the conflict and the 187 who were wounded.
Nearly 40 years ago, Panui was a platoon sergeant patrolling the jungle at Nui Dat.
"I think the average age of my platoon was about 23, and a lot of them it was the first time they'd been away from home."
The young men were not only under threat from the enemy but were patrolling areas sprayed with the deadly defoliant Agent Orange.
The men could provide vivid accounts of clashes with the Viet Cong, but the Australian Government said it had no records of the 2nd D&E Platoon.
This week, though, this "ghost unit" was officially recognised.
The Defence Department has determined the platoon did indeed exist and was involved in important action.