12 March 2009
Bayonets fixed, drums beating, and feet in step, 150 army personnel from Waikato Mounted Rifles and 11/4 Battery will parade through central Hamilton to exercise their right to bear arms in the city, and mark the renewal of the Charter between Hamilton City and the Army this Saturday, 14 March.
The parade is an opportunity to renew these Charters and reissue them to both units in their modern names. Both army units have undergone name changes since Hamilton City Council originally presented them with Freedom of the City Charters on 10 August 1960.
In addition to renewing the Charter it is an opportunity to recognise those Reserve soldiers from Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty on parade who will be deploying to the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan later this month.
Hamilton City Council Community Development Unit Manager Olly Te Ua, is one of those deploying next month, beginning a six-month tour in Afghanistan.
Major Te Ua’s role will be as a Staff Liaison Officer in a multi-national headquarters where he will be part of the wider New Zealand contingent, including the provincial reconstruction team, staff officers, medical specialists and trainers, whose focus will be on advancing the three pillars of security, governance, and development in conjunction with the international community.
In 2002 Maj Te Ua worked on civil-military nation building projects in East Timor as part of NZBATT 6. He hopes to use his past experience of 15 years as an Reserve Force soldier, as well as his ten years experience as a public servant to add value during his upcoming posting.
“I will also be looking to use transferable skills from my current job as Community Development Unit Manager for Hamilton City Council, and at the same time I anticipate bringing back new skills to my role when I return,” he said.
Colonel Jon Broadley, Deputy Commander 2nd Land Force Group, said it is an honour for the units to be able to march through the streets of Hamilton and reconfirm their relationship with the city.
"We have a number of soldiers that hail from the Waikato and are keen to see more of the men and women of this area consider a full or part-time role with the NZ Army," he said.
"The parade is an opportunity to recognise those current Army Territorial Force soldiers from Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty who have recently returned from a three-month operational deployment to the Solomon Islands, and to formally farewell the next contingent deploying in a few days time.
"It is also an opportunity to sincerely thank the families and employers for their support which enables these soldiers to be able to contribute effectively in the service of our country."
During the parade the Minister of Defence Hon Dr Wayne Mapp will present the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions, Employer of the Year Certificate to EDI Downer (Rotorua).
For further information please contact Paul Stein, Defence Communications Advisor (Central Region), on 06 351 9077 or 021 409 033
Formerly known as the 4th Medium Battery RNZA, the unit updated its name to 11/4 Battery in 1999 when it merged with 11(A) Battery in Auckland, while the Waikato Mounted Rifles changed its name from the Queen Alexandra's Waikato/Wellington East Coast Squadron RNZAC in 2003 to reflect its ties to its 19th century predecessorsMaj Olly Te Ua. Major Te Ua has been an Army Reserve Officer for the past 15 years after originally joining as a Gunner (private equivalent) with 4(G) Medium Battery. Maj Te Ua is a competent Te Reo speaker.
Beginning from Grantham Street at 10.35am, the parade will move north along Victoria Street, before turning left onto Collingwood Street and right onto Alexandra Street where the units will receive a challenge from the NZ Police.
The Charters will then be re-affirmed to allow the parade to continue through on to Civic Square in Garden Place at 10.45am.
The parade will be inspected by Mayor Hamilton City Mr Bob Simcock, followed by a speech by Minister of Defence Hon Dr. Wayne Mapp.
The parade will conclude at 11.30am.
Currently 718 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on 14 operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world