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Canterbury bound for international exercise

Hon Phil Goff

Minister of Defence

21 March 2008

Media statement

Navy ship Canterbury bound for international defence exercise and Raoul Island re-supply

Navy amphibious sealift ship HMNZS CANTERBURY will depart from Devonport Naval Base on Tuesday, bound for an international exercise in Noumea and a re-supply of a Department of Conservation operation on Raoul Island, Defence Minister Phil Goff said.

“This trip is the second international exercise for the Canterbury and comes less than a month after it successfully took part in Exercise Sea Lion in the Townsville and inner Great Barrier Reef areas off Australia’s eastern coast.

“The exercise will involve ship to shore loading and unloading of troops and vehicles. This new capability strengthens our ability to operate with our defence partners and carry out disaster relief-type activities.

“The range of missions demonstrates the value of the ship’s capability to New Zealand. As the Canterbury sets to work, we are beginning to see her versatility and capacity to undertake a variety of roles she was acquired to do.” Mr Goff said.

Maritime Component Commander Commodore Parr said the latest exercise, Exercise Croix Du Sud 2008, is a French Military sponsored, joint and combined Field Training Exercise.

The exercise is conducted biennially in New Caledonia between defence forces from France, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Tonga, Commodore Parr said. It aids the development of interoperability among participating land force elements by extending the knowledge of each other’s tactics and operational staff procedures.

New Zealand Defence Force involvement includes the Canterbury, a Detached Hydrographic Support Unit, an Infantry Platoon from 3 Land Force Group in Burnham, two Helicopters from 3 Squadron in Ohakea and personnel to man the Exercise Headquarters. The exercise runs from 28 March to 14 April.

On return to New Zealand from Noumea, Canterbury will join with DoC to conduct a re-supply of their operation in Raoul Island over 17 and 18 April. This will cover reconnaissance of the beach landing area, wharf upgrade requirements and a transfer of stores. Staff will also undertake tasks including reserve and facilities maintenance and monitoring volcanic activity, Commodore Parr said.

Karen Baird, DoC’s programme manager for Raoul Island, said: “The island is very a demanding environment. It's a huge logistical operation re-supplying such a remote location, and it really makes such a difference having the help of the Navy. Their help in cleaning up after the last cyclone and assisting us with improving the airstrip and other essential tasks has been invaluable.”


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