The outgoing NZ contingent welcomes the arriving Kiwi contingent with a traditional Maori Powhiri. Copyright Australian Defence Force.
11 November 2011
67 NZ Defence Force personnel have arrived back in New Zealand after completing a six month deployment supporting the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in Timor-Leste.
The contingent, made up mostly of personnel from 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) and supporting units, were met last night at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea by Commander Joint Forces Major General Dave Gawn, family and friends.
Major Andy Mackenzie Everitt, Officer Commanding the contingent, said it had been a very positive six months.
“The contingent performed exceptionally well and should be justly proud of their accomplishments. Although the mission environment remains operationally quiet as Timor-Leste works to build a stable independent nation, the tour was a challenge.
“We trained hard to ensure mission focus and delivered several professional development events. Commander ISF was so impressed with our Military Skills competition that he has instructed the Australians to organise a similar competition.”
During their six month tour, the contingent carried out a number of key tasks including security, community engagement patrols in Dili, and a regional engagement patrol to Viqueque. They supported NZ Defence Force personnel attached to the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste and the UN, as well as conducting military drum training with the F-FDTL Corps of Drums and visiting the Cova Lima District NZ-related memorials to honour the Kiwi servicemen who died in service in Timor.
Commander ISF, Colonel Luke Foster, said the Kiwis had proven invaluable partners to the ISF.
“The ISF is the only serving ANZAC force in the world today. They (the Kiwis) can return home knowing they have served with distinction and have my sincere thanks and appreciation for all their efforts.”
The ISF is in Timor-Leste at the invitation of the Government of Timor-Leste to support local security forces to maintain a secure and stable environment. The security environment in Timor-Leste has remained calm and stable over the past three years.
For further information contact Kirsty Taylor-Doig, Defence Communications Group, 021 806 926.