LONDON - The New Zealand Memorial in London was officially dedicated by the Queen yesterday in a bitterly cold Remembrance Day ceremony. About 2000 people - many of them expatriate New Zealanders - turned out for the autumn event at leafy Hyde Park Corner. The memorial comprises 16 sculpted bronze stands, which sit atop a grassy knoll at the busy intersection and carry many New Zealand motifs. The Queen, Prime Minister Helen Clark and British Prime Minister Tony Blair all spoke briefly in the 1-hour afternoon ceremony. The Queen described the memorial as "striking", adding that it honoured the two nations' heritage and long-standing loyalties to one another. It was also to remember those men and women of New Zealand and Britain who shared the hardships of war, and to honour those who had died, she said. "And to bear witness to the enduring strength of the relationship between Britain and New Zealand. "It therefore gives me great pleasure now to dedicate the New Zealand memorial." Both Helen Clark and Mr Blair paid tribute to the links - past, present and future - between the two countries, which hark back to the 18th century. Helen Clark said the memorial project had become a "vehicle through which to express in this ancient land of Britain, which with we have so many ties, the unique national identity of New Zealand". "It is a particular pleasure to do so through these beautiful and evocative bronze sculptures," she said, noting the many NZ themes they contained. "This place at Hyde Park Corner will be a place New Zealanders are proud to call home." The high-security memorial service started around 2.30pm with the arrival of guests. It had a strong military component. About 300 New Zealand Defence Force personnel, 32 veterans and various dignitaries attended the ceremony. Helen Clark with husband Professor Peter Davis, Mr Blair and wife Cherie, New Zealand veterans and the 120-strong tri-service NZDF royal honour guard arrived separately before 2.40pm. The guard was marched on by a tri-service band, playing Maori Battalion. They were followed by a string of royals, among them the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, and the Duke of York. The Queen's motorcade arrived at 2.50pm. Black-clad security staff and anti-sniper units could be seen on the roofs of nearby buildings. After the three speeches to an audience studded with well-known New Zealanders, musician Dave Dobbyn performed a guitar solo of Welcome Home and later singer Hayley Westenra led the crowd in singing both nations' anthems. Wreaths were then laid at the foot of the memorial, while to its left fluttered the New Zealand flag, the Union Jack, and the Royal Standard. The first two were hung at half-mast when NZ's Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, and NZ Returned and Services Association president John Campbell cited the ode from For the Fallen, in Maori and English respectively. NZDF Maori performed a rousing version of Te Rauparaha's most famous haka - popularised by the All Blacks - in traditional warrior dress and carrying taiaha. Then the royal family, Helen Clark, Mr Blair and other important guests inspected the memorial, created by NZ sculptor Paul Dibble. At that time, the Queen told Helen Clark: "I'd love to come back and have a good look very close." Scores of expatriate New Zealanders were at the ceremony, all wrapped in winter woollies. Expats said the ceremony was "moving", "emotional", and something "to be proud of". Respected climber and Antarctic adventurer George Lowe, 83, said he regarded the event as a special one. He was part of Sir Edmund Hillary's team that conquered Mt Everest in 1953. "I'm amazed that New Zealand has only just got a memorial in London. It's about time." - NZPA UK Prime Minister Tony Blair also addressed the audience which included more than 300 members from the New Zealand Defence Force – the largest contingent of New Zealand armed forces to parade in the United Kingdom since World War II. The ceremony began with a 120 strong military march from Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner. The Royal Guard and band were accompanied by more than 60 New Zealand and UK veterans who fought in WWII, Japan, Korea and the Malayan emergency. They were flanked by the New Zealand Defence Maori culture group. Three Typhoons from RAF Base Conningby joined the Royal New Zealand Boeing 757 aircraft which had brought the defence contingent from New Zealand in a spectacular ‘fly past’ at 1000ft above Hyde Park. ---------- From the Boer War (1898) to Borneo (late 1950) 255,000 Kiwis have served with Britains Military in wartime. New Zealand had the highest casualty rate per head of population in both world wars. Kiwis pilots were the third largest in number during the Battle of Britain. 88,000 rest in their comrades hearts in foreign soil that is always a piece of New Zealand. Ake Ake, Kia Kaha. Forever and ever, Be Strong. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.