Defence partnership with Tonga celebrated

Defence Minister Judith Collins will visit the Kingdom of Tonga to take part in the opening of a New Zealand-funded His Majesty’s Armed Forces Leadership Centre and to meet with counterparts. 

“New Zealand has a long, shared military history with Tonga and the development of this leadership centre is an excellent example of that partnership in action,” Ms Collins says.

The $6.5 million centre is a project co-funded by the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It will be officially opened by His Majesty King Tupou VI on Tuesday. 

The centre will draw on the highly respected New Zealand Pacific Leadership programme, adapted for the Tongan Armed Forces. 

“This type of partnership is important as the Pacific is our home and we all benefit from sharing knowledge and working together to support a secure, stable and prosperous region,” Ms Collins says.

“During my time in Tonga I will also meet with my Ministerial counterparts to discuss regional challenges and opportunities in advance of the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Auckland later this year.”

Ms Collins will visit the Tongan National Disaster Risk Management Office to hear about the NZDF’S role in recent humanitarian and disaster relief exercises and activities, as well as travel to a Tongan army camp.  

Ms Collins leaves tomorrow and returns on Wednesday.