17 December 2014
The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, leaves today for Tonga to attend a farewell parade for the outgoing Chief of His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF), Brigadier Utu’atu, and to discuss opportunities to strengthen the defence relationship between the two countries.
LTGEN Keating said that Tonga is a close defence partner of long standing in the region.
“Each year we identify opportunities to build on and enhance that relationship – to work and train together for the benefit of both Defence Forces,” he said.
“This year, Tonga and New Zealand, and the Australian Defence Force, completed two very successful building projects in Tonga – the HMAF headquarters building and a combined Mess at the Masefield Naval Base.
“We also had a Tongan instructor at the Army’s Officer Cadet School and an NZDF technical advisor attached to the HMAF.
“We look forward to engaging with Tonga in a number of different ways in 2015, including through the international Exercise Southern Katipo in November and other training opportunities through the Mutual Assistance Programme,” he said.