Large-Scale International Military Exercise Underway

1 November 2013

HMNZS CANTERBURY being loaded with equipment for Exercise Southern Katipo 2013

Army vehicles embark HMNZS Canterbury at Wellington port for transport to Exercise Southern Katipo in the South Island

Around 200 battle-ready troops and 280 tonnes of equipment and vehicles embarked in HMNZS CANTERBURY in Wellington today in the first stage of the largest amphibious exercise conducted by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

“Exercise Southern Katipo 2013 aims to test the capability of the NZDF to mount a medium-scale amphibious operation that involves maritime, land and air assets,” said Royal New Zealand Captain Jim Gilmour, Commander Amphibious Task Force for the exercise.

 “It will also enable us to demonstrate our ability to operate effectively with our coalition partners,” he added.

 The NZDF will be deploying two ships (HMNZS CANTERBURY and HMNZS WELLINGTON) and up to 12 aircraft for the exercise, which involves up to 2200 personnel from New Zealand and nine other nations. The exercise will be held from 4-29 November, with the primary area of operations centred on the airport and port of Timaru.

“Exercises such as this help the NZDF prepare for a variety of contingencies and ensure that New Zealand can play its part with other nations to assist our Pacific neighbours, should the need arise,” said NZ Army Lieutenant Colonel Bill Keelan, Commander Land Forces for the joint exercise.

The exercise’s training scenario is set in a fictional South West Pacific country – Mainlandia – which requires intervention from the ‘League of Pacific Nations’ to restore law and order.


Photos, video and updates on the progress of the exercise are available on the Southern Katipo 2013’s Facebook page (


This page was last reviewed on 6 August 2014.