New Zealand Army soldiers who formed part of the “friendly forces” conduct patrols in Westport during Exercise Southern Katipo 2015.
31 October 2016
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has again decided to hold its major military exercise in the West Coast, Tasman and Marlborough regions in late 2017.
Planning for the exercise, called Southern Katipo, is being stepped up. The Exercise Director, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Dransfield, is scheduled to meet local authorities and community organisations in the areas over the next two weeks.
“Exercises such as Southern Katipo have huge logistical requirements. That is why we have already started to engage with the local communities to gain their support and establish key points of contact,” Lieutenant Colonel Dransfield said.
He said the success of Exercise Southern Katipo 2015 (SK15) owed much to the support the involvement of local communities.
“We used their land, ports, airfields and, in some cases, private farmland. There was strong community involvement and hundreds took part as role-players in certain aspects of the exercise.”
The exercise areas will essentially be the same as those used in SK15 but will extend south to Greymouth in the west and Kaikoura in the east.
Although the exercise scenario will be a continuation of that used in SK15, higher threat levels will be used to create more challenging training environments across the spectrum of operations.
“Opposition groups and challenges presented will allow for a range of military and non-military responses to be exercised, both individually as NZDF and collectively with other government agencies, non-governmental organisations and international partners,” Lieutenant Colonel Dransfield said.
He said SK17 would build on the cooperation achieved between the NZDF, other government agencies, non-governmental organisations and regional defence partners during the humanitarian aid operation in Fiji early this year.
Southern Katipo aims to test and evaluate the NZDF’s ability to plan and conduct joint operations such as providing humanitarian assistance and responding to requests for assistance in managing a security situation in the south-west Pacific region.
Held every two years, Southern Katipo involves naval, land and air assets and more than 2000 personnel from New Zealand and several defence partners including Australia, France, the United States, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga. Singapore and Malaysia have been invited to participate in 2017, increasing the number of international participants from 9 to 11.
New Zealand organisations supporting the exercise include the New Zealand Customs Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Police, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Transport Authority, Immigration New Zealand, Ministry of Health, District Health Boards, Red Cross and St John New Zealand.