About 100 New Zealand Defence Force personnel, including 40 Officer Cadets, are in Papua New Guinea to train in jungle warfare over the next three weeks.
28 August 2017
About 100 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel, including 40 Officer Cadets, are in Papua New Guinea to train in jungle warfare over the next three weeks.
The trainees are being taught how to cope in a tropical environment, how to patrol and navigate in thick vegetation, and survival skills.
Exercise Luluai is being held from 23 August to 15 September in a jungle near Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. The field training exercise forms part of the rigorous 12-month training conducted by the New Zealand Army’s Officer Cadet School.
Captain Alex Bowyer, the officer in charge of the exercise, said the training aimed to develop the trainees’ leadership skills in a jungle environment.
“The exercise will also test their physical and mental stamina to operate in such a challenging environment,” he said.
Brigadier Mike Shapland, the Land Component Commander, said Exercise Luluai would contribute to the NZDF’s readiness to operate in the Pacific.
“The training is valuable because we often operate across the region. In fact, we have conducted three humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the South West Pacific in the past four years,” Brigadier Shapland said.
“Our Defence Force trains to be able to operate everywhere – deserts, jungles and urban environments. We train so that we are ready to respond before a crisis demands it.”
Having the training in Port Moresby would also help strengthen the relationship with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF), Brigadier Shapland said.
“We have a long history of defence cooperation with the PNGDF.
“Our defence forces served together in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, and the PNGDF takes part regularly in Exercise Southern Katipo, the NZDF’s major military exercise.”
The NZDF’s Mutual Assistance Programme provides training support in partnership with the PNGDF. Under the programme, about 40 PNGDF personnel receive a combination of command, leadership, staff and specialist training in New Zealand and in Papua New Guinea each year, while Papua New Guinea brings specialist expertise and experience as instructors to NZDF courses.