Navy personnel in Vanuatu, Anzac Day 2011.
26 April 2011
A contingent of NZ Defence Force and Australian Defence Force personnel commemorated Anzac Day together yesterday while deployed on Pacific Partnership in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Two Dawn Services were held with NZ personnel present yesterday morning at 5:45am in Port Vila. The national ceremony held at the Port Vila cenotaph was attended by over 60 Defence personnel while another dawn parade was held on HMNZS CANTERBURY’s flight deck with over 150 personnel in attendance.
At the national ceremony, Commander of the exercise, US Naval Officer, Commodore Jesse Wilson, Commanding Officer of CANTERBURY, Commander Jim Gilmour, and Commander of the NZ Defence Force element of the exercise, Lieutenant Colonel Don Jones, laid a wreath at the cenotaph and later travelled to lay poppies on service graves.
Lt Col Jones said that the dawn parade is held in very high regard in Vanuatu and was attended by the President and Prime Minister as well as the NZ and Australian High Commissioners to Vanuatu. NZ Defence Force soldiers, sailors and airmen participating in Exercise Pacific Partnership were also on parade, and a cenotaph firing party was provided by sailors from HMNZS CANTERBURY.
“It was a unique service in a lovely setting held on a hill overlooking the harbour. We had an extraordinary mix of participants that we don't normally parade with, including the US Navy and Australian Navy personnel, Vanuatu soldiers, and the French helicopter crew.”
“Being together with our friends and allies to commemorate Anzac Day overseas is a special feeling. The dawn ceremony also helped reinforce the bond already being established on the exercise", Lt Col Jones said.
Australian, American, Tongan, Swedish, Canadian and British personnel are all working together with the NZDF personnel on Pacific Partnership and commemorated Anzac Day alongside one another in both dawn services.
Pacific Partnership is a US-led humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) exercise carried out with partner nations throughout the Pacific. The exercise aims to increase interoperability and this year HMNZS CANTERBURY will serve as a primary platform delivering medical, dental, veterinary and engineering services.
New Zealand’s contribution to Pacific Partnership will focus on the nations of Tonga and Vanuatu, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade supporting the development work with approximately $500,000 of funding from the New Zealand Aid Programme.
Contact Nicole Munro, Defence Communications Group, 021 569 148.
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