13 February, 2009
Presentation of Service Medal by President of Timor-Leste
President of Timor-Leste Jose Ramos-Horta will next week honour six New Zealanders for their role in New Zealand's peacekeeping response to the violence that broke out in Timor-Leste in April and May 2006.
At a ceremony at Premier House at 12:15pm on Monday February 16, President Ramos-Horta will present five NZDF personnel and one New Zealand Police officer with the Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste Solidarity Medal).
Acting Minister of Defence Heather Roy said that the ceremony would be the first presentation to New Zealanders involved in the Timor-Leste peacekeeping response.
"A further 700 New Zealand Defence Force personnel, and over 100 New Zealand Police, will receive the medal at separate ceremonies in Timor-Leste and around New Zealand over coming months. The next ceremony in New Zealand is expected to be held in June or July.
"The five New Zealand Defence Force personnel and one New Zealand Police officer being awarded medals on Monday have helped provide stability and security in the years following the outbreak of violence in Timor-Leste in April and May 2006.
"New Zealand personnel have experienced many challenges in difficult conditions over the past three years. This medal is a fitting recognition of the challenges these New Zealanders have met and the important role they have played in Timor-Leste's journey towards peace and stability," Mrs Roy said.
Police Minister Judith Collins expressed her pride in the New Zealand Police.
"I am immensely proud of our police. I believe that the ability to make personal connections across borders and across cultures is one of the greatest skills Kiwi police possess. By building friendships between people, each of these officers helps strengthen the bonds between our two countries," Ms Collins said.
The ribbon for the new medal incorporates the national colours of Timor-Leste in a pattern of red, black, white and yellow stripes. The recipients of the Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste are listed below.
Recipients of the Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste on February 16 2009
New Zealand Defence Force
1) Commander Lance Cook, Royal New Zealand Navy
Served in Timor-Leste as Deputy Commander Combined Joint Task Force and New Zealand Senior National Officer from February to August 2008.
2) Major Julie Richardson, New Zealand Intelligence Corps
Served in Timor-Leste as a military adviser to the Timor-Leste Defence Force from September 2007 to September 2008.
3) Sergeant Gary Clark, Royal New Zealand Air Force
Served in Timor-Leste as a helicopter crewman from July to October 2007 and July to October 2008.
4) Corporal Jamie Reid, Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment
Served in Timor-Leste as a stores person from May to December 2006.
5) Lance Corporal Lauren Dwyer, Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps
Served in Timor-Leste as a medic from May to December 2006.
New Zealand Police
6) Superintendent Tony McLeod, New Zealand Police
Served in Timor-Leste as New Zealand Police Contingent Commander from April to October 2008.