Captain Mathew Rupasinha, Platoon Commander of the reconnaissance team of the Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 Scots), before conducting patrols south of Mosgiel today.
22 July 2017
Scottish soldiers who were in the South Island to take part today in a race organised by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) were happy instead to help flood-stricken communities in Otago.
“It was great to be able to help the local communities,” Captain Mathew Rupasinha, Platoon Commander of the reconnaissance team of the Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 Scots), said.
“We were sent to communities south of Mosgiel today to check that residents have evacuated to safer ground.
“This is the first time we’ve all been to New Zealand and also the first time for us to help out in a flood response. The people were very warm and friendly – they were grateful.”
Eight members of the 4 Scots arrived in New Zealand in mid-July to take part in Twin Peaks Battle Tab, a gruelling 26-kilometre race up the highest peaks surrounding Dunedin, which was organised by the 2nd/4th Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (2/4 RNZIR). The race was cancelled last night because of the powerful storm and the 120 NZDF personnel taking part were reassigned to support the disaster relief efforts.
“We spent the past week preparing for the race and acclimatising to the wintry temperatures,” Captain Rupasinha said. “The team was disappointed but we do recognise that the weather is beyond our control.
“Our regiment has a long history of engagement with the New Zealand Army. We fought alongside each other in the two world wars and, most recently, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“We are glad that we were able to support the response to the floods alongside members of 2/4 RNZIR and continue this long history of cooperation.”