7 October 2017
The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, has left New Zealand to attend the Passchendaele Centenary commemoration in Belgium and visit counterparts in Denmark and Italy.
Lieutenant General Keating said Passchendaele evoked the worst memories of the First World War.
“More than 1900 New Zealanders lost their lives in less than a month – 960 of them were killed or succumbed to their wounds sustained on just one of these days, the 12th of October, 1917,’’ he said.
“Passchendaele was a tragedy that left scars that have endured for generations. It remains a stark reminder for those of us in the New Zealand Defence Force today of our responsibility to care for those who serve and the families who support us.”
While in Europe Lieutenant General Keating will meet his Chief of Defence counterparts General Bjørn Bisserup in Denmark and General Claudio Graziano in Italy.
He said New Zealand and Denmark shared similar values in support of peace and democracy, and the two countries’ perspectives often converged on global security issues.
”We both have relatively small militaries and we seek to maximise our influence through our niche capabilities. A key focus for both countries is maritime security and surveillance.”
Italy and New Zealand had common deployments in the Middle East, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Multinational Force Observers in Sinai, Egypt, he said.
“Our countries also cooperate through multilateral forums, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.”