Busy year for NZ Defence Force

  • Gerry Brownlee

The NZ Defence Force has had a busy year participating in exercises, operations, national and international commemorations, and personnel can be proud of all they’ve achieved, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

“This year more than 500 personnel have deployed on operations and exercises around the world from Antarctica to Canada, Malaysia and Singapore.

“For example, working alongside our Pacific partners on New Zealand’s biggest overseas exercise this year at Exercise RIMPAC, our people gained significant experience participating in a multi-national exercise around the Hawaiian Islands, exercising alongside 23 other nations and 25,000 personnel.

“Back in New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Navy hosted and led the very successful Western Pacific Naval Symposium Mine Counter Measure and Diving exercise. 

“New Zealand led this multi-national taskforce, where 600 personnel from 14 nations honed their readiness to respond to natural disasters in the South Pacific.

“One of the biggest news stories of this year was the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.  The Royal New Zealand Air Force P3-Orion crew did a tremendous job contributing New Zealand’s effort to the search and rescue of the missing Malaysian aircraft.

“The NZ Army has tested and challenged personnel on exercises in Australia and New Zealand on Exercise Alam Halfa in New Zealand, and Exercise Hamel in the wilds of Queensland.

“This year has also been a busy year for commemorations, with veterans being supported to attend commemorations in France to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and Italy to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino.”

Mr Brownlee also paid tribute to those who will be deployed on Christmas Day.

“As Christmas approaches we think of all those who will not spend Christmas Day with their families, and take a moment to appreciate the work they are doing around the world in service to New Zealand.”

More than 120 NZ Defence Force personnel will spend Christmas Day on operations around the world, in Bahrain, the Middle East, South Korea, Antarctica, Sinai, Afghanistan and South Sudan.