9 November 2015
Kiwi Forces Radio is back on air this year to bring festive joy to the nearly 600 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed on missions overseas.
Produced by a civilian employee of the NZDF, Kiwi Forces Radio features messages and song requests from family and friends of deployed personnel. It also features messages from the Chief of Defence Force and the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.
“Christmas is the hardest time to be away from one’s family. Through Kiwi Forces Radio, we give our people serving overseas a little piece of home and make them feel a little bit better at that time of the year,” said Kate Lukins, an experienced broadcaster who has been the driving force behind the Christmas programme since 2010. The show was not aired in 2014 due to lower deployment numbers.
Started some years ago by two staff members from what was formerly the Defence Communications Group, Kiwi Forces Radio is burnt onto a CD and sent to personnel deployed on missions overseas.
Ms Lukins volunteers her time to produce the show and has been doing this for the past five years.
“I feel privileged to be able to assist families in delivering messages to their loved ones overseas. I just want to give something back to these men and women who put their lives on the line and help other people. They are giving so much for us and our country,” said Ms Lukins.
Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand oversees all NZDF’s operations and missions in New Zealand and overseas, and covers the CD burning and postal costs. Kiwi Forces Radio can also be downloaded from the NZDF website.
“It’s an outstanding initiative,” said Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.
“Although they do not wear the uniform, the families of our servicemen and women serve our country alongside them. It takes a great deal of resilience on the part of the families and our deployed personnel to get through long deployments. Kiwi Forces Radio is another channel through which they can stay in touch at Christmas,” said MAJGEN Gall.
Deployed personnel have given positive feedback about the show and their families appreciate the opportunity to record messages and dedicate songs for their loved ones.
“Some kids have brought the CDs to school to share with their classmates. I’ve also received email messages from our deployed personnel thanking me for producing the show,” said Ms Lukins.
Ms Lukins will record this year’s Christmas programme from the NZME studio in Masterton on 14-15 November 2015. Families and friends of deployed forces are asked to send a song request no later than 13 November with their name, landline or mobile number, and the best time for Ms Lukins to ring them from the studio on 14-15 November 2015.
For further information, please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980