Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Bamyan Memorial Speech

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Defence

4 April 2013

Speech

Bamyan Memorial Speech:

Your Excellency the Governor General of New Zealand and Lady Janine Mataparae, Governor Sarabi, Lt General Rhys Jones, Chief of Defence Force, Secretary of Defence Helene Quilter, and Police Commissioner Peter Marshall.

To all those friends of New Zealand and Bamyan Province who gather here, today we pay tribute to the eight New Zealanders and 23 Afghans who have given their lives in the service of Bamyan Province, and whose names are commemorated on this joint memorial.

As the flag is lowered for the last time at Kiwi Base it is fitting that New Zealand remembers the sons and daughter who gave their lives in the service of others. I know it’s very important to all New Zealanders who served in Bamyan in whatever capacity that the sacrifices made here are never forgotten. I also know that the people of New Zealand hold the fallen close in their national memory.

It’s also appropriate that the names of New Zealand’s dead are commemorated alongside the 23 members of the Afghan National Security Forces who spilt their blood over the past decade here in Bamyan.

Our two peoples have worked side by side in Bamyan for ten years and have built a history of shared sacrifice that now link our two very different lands and cultures.

When the PRT consulted with local leaders here in Bamyan about this memorial all parties were unanimous in wanting a combined memorial. That is a reflection of the relationship and I want to thank Governor Sarabi on behalf of the people of New Zealand for the warmth that has been extended to our people here over the past decade.

Our shared history is also reflected in the effort that went into this memorial, with joint planning, construction and engraving carried out by Kiwis and Afghans working side by side. It is right that it is located here in the Provincial Operational Co-ordination Centre and it should serve as an ever present inspiration for those entrusted with the security of the Bamyan people.

Alongside their Afghan colleagues, today we remember the eight brave New Zealand soldiers who died in Bamyan Province – Lt Tim O’Donnell, Private Kirifi Mila, Corporal Douglas Hughes, Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer, Lance Corporal Rory Malone, Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, and Private Richard Harris.

We also remember Corporal Doug Grant, and Lance Corporal Leon Smith whose sacrifice is commemorated on the ISAF memorial in Kabul.

Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of our fallen soldiers and their Afghan colleagues, as they continue to mourn their loved ones.

When I last visited Bamyan in October, I personally expressed the Government’s condolences following the tragic losses in August and thanked the last rotation for their on-going professionalism and commitment. The decision to deploy the New Zealand Defence Force is never made lightly. The New Zealand Government and the people of New Zealand highly value the work that the men and women of the NZDF carry out on behalf of the nation. It is work that entails very real risks on a daily basis, and this memorial is testament to that.

The security that the PRT has provided in the last decade has been fundamental to enabling development to flourish in Bamyan Province. The backbone to the New Zealand PRT has been the thousands of young men and women from the New Zealand Defence Force who have selflessly served their country, dedicated to making a difference and improving the lives of the Afghan people.

Over 3,500 New Zealand Defence Force personnel have been deployed to Afghanistan, with the majority serving here in Bamyan with the PRT. They have worked alongside colleagues from the New Zealand Police and Civil Service to help Bamyan and Afghanistan get back on its feet.

Ten years on, New Zealand’s legacy can be clearly seen. More children are attending school and going on to university, there are improved healthcare facilities and access to health services, wells and village water supplies are hooked up, there are more sealed roads and bridges connecting villages, and agricultural prosperity and agricultural development is taking place. This has all been achieved thanks to the security that the PRT has provided.

New Zealand may be a small country but our contribution in Afghanistan is recognised internationally. New Zealanders should be very proud of the work we have achieved here. It is the right time for the PRT to return home as the Afghan National Security Forces and the Provincial government in Bamyan get on with the job by themselves.

As Bamyan looks to the future and continues the progress made, New Zealand will watch from afar. The province is a better place for our efforts here, but we will always remember the sacrifices of the 23 Afghans and 8 New Zealanders commemorated here on this memorial.

To borrow from Rupert Brooke – there is some corner of a foreign field that is forever New Zealand.

Lest we forget.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The National Leadership “Contest”

Key’s endorsement of English has turned this “contest” into a race for second place.

This succession was well planned. Lets not forget that English was told by Key in September of his intention to resign, and English was the only member of Cabinet entrusted with that information before it was sprung on everyone else on Monday morning. More>>

Latest: Judith Collins and Jonathan Coleman have withdrawn from the leadership race, leaving Bill English the only candidate to replace John Key as Prime Minister.

 

Education: Charter Schools Misleading Pass Rates

Labour: NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated... In one case a school reported a 93.3 per cent pass rate when the facts show only 6.7 per cent of leavers achieved NCEA level two. More>>

ALSO:

Rebstock Report Resolution: SSC Apologises To Derek Leask And Nigel Fyfe

Following a complaint by Mr Leask, the Ombudsman found that the State Services Commission acted unreasonably in relation to Mr Leask and identified numerous deficiencies in the investigation process and in the publication of the final report and in the criticisms it contained of Mr Leask... More>>

ALSO:

International Rankings: Student Results 'Show More Resourcing Needed'

NZEI: New Zealand had only held relatively steady in international rankings in some areas because the average achievement for several other OECD countries had lowered the OECD average -- not because our student achievement has improved. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Salvation Army Report: Beyond The Prison Gate Report

A new Salvation Army report says changes must be made to how prisoners re-enter society for New Zealanders to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Surprise Exit: Gordon Campbell On The Key Resignation

The resignation of John Key is one thing. The way that Key and his deputy Bill English have screwed the scrum on the leadership succession vote (due on December 12) is something else again. It remains to be seen whether the party caucus – ie, the ambitious likes of Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and Amy Adams – will simply roll over... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news