Defence Force personnel depart for Timor-Leste

18 May 2010

The first contingent of a downsized New Zealand Defence Force commitment will depart for Timor-Leste tomorrow.

As part of planned troop reductions that have been enabled by an improving security situation, the New Zealand Defence Force contribution to the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in Timor-Leste will now consist of up to 75 personnel, rather than up to 140 personnel who have previously made up OPERATION GYRO.

Earlier this year, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) reduced its personnel numbers in the ISF to around 400.  The New Zealand Defence Force will still maintain a distinctive role in Timor-Leste, and one that complements the ADF contribution to the ISF, whilst also supporting the development of the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL, the Timor-Leste Defence Force).

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Air Vice Marshal Peter Stockwell, says the focus of the ISF is evolving from a security and stabilisation role to supporting the capacity building of the F-FDTL.
“The New Zealand Defence Force will still maintain a response force here in New Zealand to react at short notice to any deterioration in the security situation, if needed, and in conjunction with the ADF. 

“The ideal outcome for Timor-Leste is for their security forces, the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (National Police of Timor-Leste), and F-FDTL, providing for law and order and national security without the need for the ISF.”

The full New Zealand Defence Force contribution to the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) is now:

  • Four personnel in the ISF Combined Joint Task Force HQ.
  • Nine personnel with the New Zealand Defence Force National Command Element. 
  • Eighteen personnel in the National Support Element.
  • Forty-three personnel make up the infantry component.

The New Zealand Defence Force also contributes to Timor-Leste:

  • One Military Observer with the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste.
  • Five advisors to the F-FDTL.

Media are invited to attend the departure of Kiwi forces to Timor-Leste.  

When: 9.45am, Wednesday 19 May 2010

Where: Burnham Military Camp, Christchurch

What: Farewell for the ninth rotation of New Zealand Defence Force personnel to Timor-Leste.

Media wishing to attend the departure must register with Nicole Munro (021) 569 148 before 9am on Wednesday 19 May 2010 to ensure access is available. Photo identification will be required.


There are currently 733 New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed on 14 peacekeeping operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world.

This page was last reviewed on 19 January 2011.