25 October 2014
Taranaki will be a lot greener during November when the New Zealand Army takes to the highways and byways to test its military skills in Exercise Kiwi Koru.
Troops will be embedded throughout the Taranaki District and visible to the general public from 3 November. Military vehicles will be a common sight on the roads and the Stratford Aerodrome will be a key location in a fictitious scenario that is the background for the exercise.
Exercise Kiwi Koru is a regular fixture on the Army’s training calendar. It is held every two years to test agility and adaptability of the Army alongside the Royal New Zealand Air Force and New Zealand’s South West Pacific partners the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) and U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC).
Involving light armoured vehicles, infantry, artillery, engineers, signals and combat service support personnel such as medical and logistics, the troops will be putting themselves through their paces in a scenario that will see them aiming to restore peace between two fictitious nations, Bekara and Alpiria.
The scenario follows on from previous exercises such as Southern Katipo held in the South Island last year and Exercise Alam Halfa held in the Central North Island in May.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force will work alongside the NZ Army during the Exercise. Helicopters will be involved in troop and supply movements around the District, and C-130 aircraft will deliver personnel and equipment to New Plymouth Airport and conduct air drops of supplies to the troops.
1st New Zealand Brigade Commander Colonel Nick Gillard said the New Zealand Defence Force needed to ensure it remained well trained.
“Our training calendar is rigorous and designed to ensure we are prepared to deploy when required.
“Exercise Kiwi Koru is the second major exercise on the Army’s annual training calendar. It’s an opportunity to test what we know, how we work and how we work with our international partners too.
“New Zealand regularly conducts training with international partners such as US and Australia. Exercises for next year include Exercise Dawn Blitz in California and Exercise Talisman Sabre in Australia, with Exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii and Exercise Croix Du Sud in New Caledonia in 2016.”
Colonel Gillard said the people of Taranaki had been very generous and welcoming with offering land and facilities to allow the hundreds of personnel to conduct the Exercise in the District.
“It’s very hard for us to conduct these types of activities without community support. We’re very grateful as it’s essential to increase the capability of our young leaders and test our new equipment at home.”
Exercise Kiwi Koru will conclude at the end of November.