29 August 2012
Reserve Forces dentist Major Mark Worthington performs dental checks while dentist assistant Private Megan Baxter write down the name of patient Loleta Fea'o.
For the first time, the NZ Defence Force is co-hosting the international working group behind Exercise Pacific Partnership, which delivers a humanitarian aid programme through the Pacific.
Around 60 personnel from the Australian Defence Force, French Armed Forces New Caledonia (FANC), the United States and Japan, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a number of non-governmental organisations, are taking part in the international planning conference from 28 – 30 August.
Exercise Pacific Partnership 2013 is a US Navy-led annual multinational humanitarian relief exercise which conducts medical, dental and engineering civic aid projects in the Asia-Pacific region. New Zealand has been a participant for a number of years and the exercise is conducted as a partnership with nations from across the Pacific.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Dave Gawn, says Exercise Pacific Partnership is designed to strengthen regional partnerships in the Pacific and also improve multi-national interoperability.
"It is significant that the NZ Defence Force is co-hosting an international working group for Pacific Partnership 2013. The NZ Defence Force has a great team of planners who are playing a key role in the preparations for Pacific Partnership 2013.
"Activities like Pacific Partnership and the recent Exercise Tropic Twilight not only contribute to development in the Pacific, but they are key to ensuring the NZ Defence Force is capable, prepared and well rehearsed to conduct actual disaster response missions.
"This week NZ Defence Force personnel will be working alongside a range of international partners to familiarise and develop plans to ensure Pacific Partnership 2013 is a resounding success."
Pacific Partnership 2013 will be conducted in the host nations of Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa and Marshall Islands.
The NZ Defence Force is planning to contribute HMNZS CANTERBURY, medical and dental teams as well as a team of engineers. It is likely that a mixed team of Navy Divers and Army Engineers will provide critical disposal of World War II Remnants of War in South Tarawa, Kiribati.
New Zealand’s projects will be supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who provide essential development advice and funding through the New Zealand Aid Programme.
The NZ Defence force regularly contributes to Exercise Pacific Partnership and earlier this year a team of eight health specialists from Navy, Army and Air Force embarked on USNS MERCY for the Vietnam phase of Pacific Partnership 2012. Last year, over 100 NZ Army and Air Force personnel were embarked on HMNZS CANTERBURY and conducted a number of engineering and medical tasks as part of Pacific Partnership 2011 in the remote Tongan Island of Niuatoputapu and also Vanuatu.
Approximately 2,700 Samoans recently benefited from a range of healthcare services delivered by the NZ Defence Force as part of Exercise Tropic Twilight, a three-week humanitarian aid and disaster relief exercise which shares similar objectives to Pacific Partnership.
For more information, contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.