>NZ war correspondent’s ashes spread on harbour

>Kate Webb covering a war in Cambodia in the early 1970s.

The ashes of New Zealand-born war correspondent Kate Webb were scattered on Wellington Harbour today, 37 years after she first read her death notices in the world’s newspapers.
Webb, noted as a pioneer among women war correspondents died a year ago in Australia of bowel cancer, aged 64.
Born in Christchurch, she asked for her ashes to be scattered on the harbour of her homeland’s capital.
Her sister, Rachel Miller, and brother, Jeremy Webb, did that today, on the first anniversary of her death,
Her family previously held a memorial service for her in 1971 after she was captured by North Vietnamese troops in Cambodia.
The Khmer Rouge guerillas usually killed their prisoners, and obituaries were published after reports that a white woman’s body with bullet wounds had been found in a shallow grave.
But Webb told her captors she did not consider herself a prisoner of war because she was not a soldier.
“Then consider yourself an invited guest,” her interrogator said. Webb survived a bout of malaria caught during captivity and staggered out of the jungle, 10kg lighter, after 23 days.
She had gone to Saigon in 1967 with limited reporting experience and worked for United Press International.
In 1968 she survived a US rocket attack in Saigon that killed everyone around her, including the South Vietnamese police chief. Brushing herself off, she ran back into the rubble to aid the wounded, then wrote a stirring account. The year she was captured, she was made bureau chief of the UPI newsagency in Cambodia, and later went on to cover much more fighting, in Iraq (1990-91), Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, as well as reporting in Pakistan, East Timor, the Philippines, Korea, India, and Nepal.
In 1990 a drugged assassin invaded her room in the old Kabul Hotel in Afghanistan.
Her last big stories were on the collapse of Indonesian President Suharto’s regime in 1998 and East Timor’s vote for independence in 1999.
Webb retired to Australia in 2001 and in 2002 told the Sydney Morning Herald that she was “a real softie”, explaining: “Hard people shatter.”
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