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Christchurch Customs Receive East Timor Medals

11 am 6 July 2001

Christchurch Customs Staff Receive East Timor Medals

Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton today awarded medals to three Christchurch Customs staff who have served in East Timor.

"The work of our New Zealand Customs Service staff overseas has been of credit to this country and we can all be proud of their work and their commitment," said Jim Anderton.

In total, 17 Customs staff have worked alongside other New Zealanders as part of our commitment to the International United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Three of these 17 Customs staff are currently on postings there.

New Zealand was the first country to respond to a call from the United Nations for assistance in establishing a Border Control Service in East Timor.

“In December 1999 the airport was about to re-open for commercial flights and there was an urgent need to provide basic Immigration and Customs services. Within three weeks there were five Customs officers in Dili.”

Initially, New Zealand Customs Officers were involved in creating some order out of what one described as a “free for all” by establishing systems at the airport and the port in Dili. The job then evolved into advising and training the East Timorese.

“One of the great strengths of New Zealanders is our commitment to peace and to our neighbours. The work of these Customs staff shows again that we are prepared to help out where we can in the world.”

Mr Anderton said he was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to meet the Christchurch officers.

“Those of us who call Christchurch home regard it as one of the most peaceful and pleasant cities in the world. To go from here to the chaos of East Timor must have been a tremendous contrast.”

The East Timor medal has been approved by Queen Elizabeth II and recognises the contribution made by New Zealanders, both civilian and military, to the rebuilding of East Timor.


6 July 2001

East Timor medals for New Zealand Customs Service staff from Christchurch presented by Jim Anderton

Des Erby, Senior Customs Officer, Christchurch

Des has been employed by the Service for 21 years and is experienced in passenger processing, goods examination and waterfront activities. He has worked in the Intelligence area for many years where he is currently an analyst.

Des served in East Timor from 20 May to 21 August 2000 as a member of the second deployment.

Duncan McDuff, Senior Customs Officer, Christchurch

Duncan also has 21 years experience with the Service and has previously been located in Timaru, Rotorua and Invercargill. He has worked in a variety of areas including goods examination, passenger processing, waterfront, audit and client services. Duncan is currently an analyst in the Intelligence Unit.

Duncan was a member of the second deployment serving in East Timor from 20 May to 21 August 2000.

Bruce Northway, Senior Customs Officer, Christchurch

Bruce has been with the Service for 25 years, beginning his career in Auckland and moving to Christchurch in 1988. Bruce has experienced vitually all aspects of Customs operations and is currently an Intelligence analyst.

Bruce served in East Timor from 9 December 2000 to 21 May 2001 as a member of the third deployment.


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