Steve Austin and his employee Adam Friend clean a weapon (MC09-0081-194tn)
20 March 2009
The arrival of the ninth rotation of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel to the Solomon Islands this week signalled the return to New Zealand for ‘Exercise Boss Lift’, an initiative by the NZDF for Reserve Force employers to see their staff in action.
Exercise ‘Boss Lift’ saw employers from Rotorua through to Timaru link up for a unique experience in the Solomon Islands where they saw how their employees ate, slept, trained and worked on operation.
Their respective Territorial Force (TF) soldiers come from a variety of professions that range from painting and bartending to law and viticulture.
During the experience the employers tried on riot gear and went through crowd control drills, saw their part-time soldiers on patrol, visited local villages, interacted with local communities and explored the Honiara area of operations and its surrounds.
"The ‘Boss Lift' was very interesting and informative especially when we visited a local village named Mbarana and saw how the locals really lived,” said Jeremy Spencer of Spencer Painters and Decorators out of Christchurch.
The Kiwi patrol helped build a well, provided a medical clinic and gave educational packs as gifts to the local children during the exercise.
“It was an eye-opener, seeing military life up close. Seeing the improvement in my employees attitude and life-skills was a highlight,” says Jamie Hughes of Copa and Toast Bars in Dunedin.
Director-General of New Zealand Defence Force Reserves Brigadier General Tim Brewer says the intent of Boss Lift was to help develop an understanding and appreciation of the work of Reserve Force soldiers on overseas operations.
“We appreciate the huge commitment for employers to release valued staff for training and importantly for operational deployment.”
“Hopefully the Bosses’ will see the leadership, confidence, teamwork and communication skills their employees developed in the Solomon Islands and the benefit that this will bring their organisations,” says Brigadier Brewer.
“By the same token, we thank and acknowledge the employers for the significant support they give their staff which is essential to ensuring Territorial Force soldiers can serve their country.”
The 43 mostly Territorial Force soldiers in the Solomon Islands serve on a four-month deployment.
The TF, the army reserve, are involved in deployments around the world including 30 soldiers in Timor-Leste, five in Sinai, three in Korea, and personnel have also served in Afghanistan.
“The TF contribute to a number of NZDF missions and their commitment to training and service to New Zealand overseas is helping bring peace and stability around the world,” Brigadier Brewer says.
For more information or further imagery please contact Bas Bolyn, Media Adviser (Army) on 04 496 0285 or 021 478 574.
Currently 718 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on 14 operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world.