14 September 2011
Following a routine Kiwi community patrol in Dili, Timor-Leste, where Senior National Officer Lieutenant Colonel Chris Powell met an avid young basketball fan, 14-year-old Estevan Azu, LTCOL Powell decided to ask the New Zealand Breakers for a helping hand.
The NZ Breakers kindly donated a number of official Breakers basketballs and LTCOL Powell was only too happy to make a surprise presentation to Estevan and his siblings.
“Estevan’s family is very poor by New Zealand standards and they simply can’t afford sports equipment like new basketballs.
“The extremely kind gesture by the NZ Breakers is consistent with their own mantra of engaging with communities that are less fortunate than others.
“The Kiwi contingent in Timor-Leste regularly engages with the locals and sport is used as a means of communication and relationship building,” says LTCOL Powell.
The improved security situation in Timor-Leste has allowed the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in Timor-Leste to evolve from a security and stabilisation role to supporting the capacity building of the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL, the Timor-Leste Defence Force).
Last Friday a bilateral Defence Cooperation Arrangement was signed in Auckland with Timor Leste.
New Zealand will support Timor-Leste through a programme of cooperative bilateral defence activities, such as helping with capacity building for the Timorese Defence Force, training courses and attachments in both Timor-Leste and New Zealand, and Defence diplomacy.
Recently, in March 2011, the UN welcomed the transfer of responsibilities for all police operations back to the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste.
The NZ Defence Force contribution to Timor-Leste includes:
- Over 60 personnel in the infantry contingent.
- One Military Observer with the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste.
- Five advisors with the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL, the Timor-Leste Defence Force).
- Four personnel in the National Support Element based in Darwin.
For further information contact Kirsty Taylor-Doig, Defence Communications Group, 021 806 926.