Employer Support for Reserves Rewarded

10 April 2012

The support shown by Blackhead Quarries for their employees Warrant Officer Gerry Costello and Sergeant Dan Bristow has earned the company the Territorial Forces Employer Support Council (TFESC) National Employer of the Year Award.

National Employer of the Year Award winner: Blackhead Quarries of Dunedin (L to R): Sergeant Daniel Bristow, Peter Townsend (Chairman of the Territorial Forces Employer Support Council (TFESC), Mr Nigel Hodge (Blackhead Quarries Business Manager) and Warrant Officer (Class 2) Gerry Costello..

The award, which recognises employers who are committed to supporting Reserve Forces personnel in their workplace, was presented to the winner by the Minister of Defence Dr Jonathan Coleman and Chairman of the TFESC Peter Townsend, at a special function at Parliament last night.

Blackhead Quarries was chosen as the supreme winner as they had shown the greatest support for their employees in their military duties.

"It's been very beneficial for us as a company. We see it as a two way thing; in our experience you get fantastic employees. They have great discipline and a very good attitude to work - that rubs off well on the other staff. That's one of the key benefits we see of employing people from the Reserve Forces," said Blackhead Quarries Business Manager Nigel Hodge.

Blackhead Quarries was chosen from seven finalists drawn from regional awards throughout the country.

During the response to the Christchurch earthquake both Sergeant Bristow and Warrant Officer Costello, who are members of the Otago Southland Battalion Group, deployed for 28 days and 15 days respectively. Over these periods the company continued to support both soldiers financially and managed other staff to cover their workload.

Two further awards were also presented. The public sector award was awarded to Nelson City Council for their support of Private Sorachet Keyanonda, of the 2nd Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast Battalion. Private Keyanonda was deployed to Christchurch also, a member of the platoon providing security in the severely damaged CBD area.

The private sector award was won by Brian Sullivan Construction Ltd of Hawera for their support of Senior Sergeant Rangi Abraham who serves with the 5th Wellington, West Coast, Taranaki Battalion.

SSGT Abraham has deployed overseas twice in the time he has been employed by the construction company. In 2000 he deployed to East Timor and in 2011 to Sinai, each time for six months. On both occasions his employer allowed him the necessary leave to attend pre-deployment training and deploy on operations, kept his job open for him on his return and included his family in work related events while he was away.

TFESC Chairman Peter Townsend is encouraged and delighted to see employers supporting their staff members’ involvement in the Reserve Forces and said, "Employers can only gain from encouraging their employee’s involvement in the Reserve Forces. In return for their support they get highly motivated and energised employees that are self-assured team players with problem solving and excellent communication skills."

The Reserve Forces of the New Zealand Defence Force and are made up of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, the Territorial Force of the NZ Army and the Territorial Air Force. Currently there are over 2,300 territorial reservists serving in the NZ Defence Force.




The Reserve Forces provide a well-integrated, part-time military personnel that supplement NZ Defence Force Regular Force elements deploying on and supporting operations and providing vital additional personnel and skills, including highly valued specialist trades.

While changes to the Reserve Forces have been publicly announced recently the Reserves remain an integral part of the Defence Force. The Army Reserve is being restructured to ensure that its functions and capabilities are aligned to NZDF outputs in the most efficient and cost effective way. 

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For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group, 021 569 130

This page was last reviewed on 17 April 2012.