End of An Era

30 June 2013
NZDF personnel man the red zone cordon
NZDF personnel man the red zone cordon

The New Zealand Defence Force’s Red Zone Cordon in Christchurch was officially lifted at a Civic Ceremony in Christchurch today.

The ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister, John Key, Minister of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Gerry Brownlee, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, and the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant-General (LTGEN) Rhys Jones.

LTGEN Jones said, "The NZDF’s response to the tragedy which struck Christchurch on 22 February 2011 has been the biggest humanitarian assistance mission it has ever undertaken.

"At the height of our response nearly 1800 NZ Defence Force personnel – Regular, Reserve and civilian, and from all three Services – were directly involved on the ground, with more personnel providing support from camps and bases.

"Every one of those people, wherever they were in New Zealand, stepped forward and did here what they are trained to do anywhere – serve the people of New Zealand. I am enormously proud of them all.

"The Defence Force’s core values are courage, commitment, comradeship, and integrity, and they were to the fore in Christchurch. But we do not have a monopoly on these values - they have also been demonstrated daily by the citizens of this city," LTGEN Jones said.

"As a Defence Force we are proud of the contribution we have been able to make in Christchurch’s time of need, and we are happy that we could help. I thank the people of Christchurch for their support and friendship as we worked alongside them and I admire the courage they have shown in the face of such disaster.

"The cordon operation that ends today has been an ongoing aspect of our commitment. It has been staffed in the main by people from our Reserve Forces. These people are drawn from all over New Zealand, and they put aside their normal careers - and lives - for a while, to serve New Zealand as Reservists. I thank them for their selfless efforts on behalf of their fellow citizens.

"This is the end of an era for us and a milestone for Christchurch. The pace of renewal now moves up a gear. We wish this wonderful city the very best possible future."


For further information please call the Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980

Background - By the numbers

At the peak of the NZDF response on 2 March 2011:

1796 uniformed NZDF personnel, made up of 239 Navy, 1379 Army and 150 Air Force Regular Force and Territorial/Reserve personnel were directly involved on the ground in Christchurch. There were many more personnel working in support of the operation in Burnham, Wellington, Upper Hutt, Linton, Ohakea, Devonport and Whenuapai.

10 Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft were employed during the initial response, including Boeing 757s, C-130 Hercules, Kingairs, Iroquois helicopters and P3-K Orions.

From 22 February to 3 March 2011, the C-130 and B757 aircraft moved a total of 4278 passengers and 268,894 lbs of freight and baggage (a combined total weight of 674,639 lbs).

Army catering staff produced more than 5000 meals per day for Police, Fire Service, search and rescue teams and military personnel.

77 Unimogs, 47 Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles (LOV), and 28 Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) formed part of the response, with the Unimogs mostly used for the transportation of equipment and stores.

Four Royal New Zealand Navy ships, HMNZS CANTERBURY, HMNZS PUKAKI, HMNZS OTAGO and HMNZS RESOLUTION were involved. HMNZS CANTERBURY transported a total of 1707 tonnes of vehicles and equipment and 375 personnel in and out of Lyttelton.

In addition:

129 Singapore Armed Forces personnel assisted NZDF personnel and the NZ Police on the cordon.

Two Singapore Armed Forces C-130 Hercules aircraft were based at Whenuapai and carried out taskings for freight and personnel movement.

This page was last reviewed on 4 July 2013.