27 May 2014
A 10-strong New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) health team started work in West Timor and Rote Island in Indonesia yesterday as part of Exercise Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14), a humanitarian and civil-military operation.
The annual international exercise, which has been held every year since 2006, involves humanitarian and civil-military operations around the Pacific that help build the ability and capacity to manage natural disasters.
The exercise offers extensive opportunities to improve inter-operability and to strengthen alliances between the various Defence Forces involved.
Other participating nations this year include the United States, Australia, Japan, and Singapore.
The NZDF team will be in Indonesia until 10 June. They will then move to Timor Leste for the second stage of their involvement, until 25 June.
The NZDF team comprises of medics, nurses, a doctor, environmental health and dental professionals, and a chaplain. They will focus on delivering a variety of professional development programmes and subject matter expert exchanges in emergency services.
As well as the health team, the NZDF is providing the Deputy Commander for the Indonesian component. The role is being filled by Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Darren Beck, the Commanding Officer of the Army’s 2nd Health Support Battalion.
LTCOL Beck said that Pacific Partnership exercises are a “unifying mission”.
“Everyone can support Pacific Partnership. It’s based on common goals that provide huge benefits to all the nations involved, by increasing regional stability,” he said.
“Everyone agrees that we need to be able to work together to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters. This exercise prepares us, in calm times, to respond effectively in times of crisis.
“We are looking forward to the tasks ahead and playing our part as a ‘good neighbour’ in the Pacific,” said LTCOL Beck.