A New Zealand Defence Force explosives specialist prepares to dispose of a 100lb bomb during Operation Render safe in Bougainville.
28 November 2014
Members of the New Zealand Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron have made a significant contribution to the safety of the people of Bougainville while working on Operation Render Safe.
Operation Render Safe is the Australian Defence Force biennial Explosive Ordnance Disposal support to South-West Pacific nations to dispose of explosive remnants of war. It is conducted in even years, while the similar NZDF-led Operation Pukaurua takes place in odd years.
The operation, which ran from 5 October to 15 November, involved 15 teams from six nations: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, the United Kingdom, and Solomon Islands.
The New Zealand contingent comprised eight Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians and two medics, in two detachments.
The New Zealand technicians have been working directly on unexploded ordnance in Torokina where grounds, villages and community gardens remain contaminated by unexploded ordnance from World War Two.
During the operation 16,000 kilograms of explosive were destroyed by the international contingent, ranging from high capacity air-dropped bombs to anti-personnel mines. The NZDF teams cleared remnants of war containing 2228 kilograms of explosive.
A spokesman for the squadron said, “Operation Render Safe is an enduring Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron commitment and provides an opportunity to both practise our core skillset in a challenging environment and effect some positive outcomes in the Pacific.
“By asking local village leadership to prioritise explosive hazards to be cleared around their villages Render Safe 14 was able to greatly improve public safety and quality of life in Torokina.
“In addition to the feeling of satisfaction we get from doing valuable work, we have also benefited by sharpening up our skills working alongside technicians from other squadrons and we will all be taking away some long-term benefits from this operation," he said.
Previous operations involved removing explosive remnants of war from the Solomon Islands in 2013 and from Rabaul in PNG in 2011.
For further information please contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.