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Army personnel return from Niue

16 June 2005

Army personnel return from Niue

Sapper Shaun Ruddle clears fallen trees from the Vinivini track

Niue, the small Pacific island devastated by Cyclone Heta last year, now has a new industrial park, refurbished sea tracks and bush walks, and other improvements, following a training exercise by the New Zealand Army.

The 120-strong Army contingent is to return home to New Zealand on Saturday after spending three weeks on the island. The work the engineers completed was funded by NZAID, the New Zealand International Aid and Development agency.

Much of the island's infrastructure was destroyed when Cyclone Heta struck in January 2004. Small businesses near the cliff tops were washed into the ocean when huge waves battered the island, hence the need for an industrial park further inland.

Constructing a footbridge on the Limu sea track are, from left, Sappers Michael Foot and Michael Dean, and Warrant Officer Andrew Harrison.

Sea tracks through the coral cliffs which allow fishermen and tourists access to fishing, snorkelling and diving were also wrecked in the storm. The engineers restored the tracks, and built footbridges and stairs to improve access. They also cleared a major tourist draw card, the Vinivini rainforest track after it became overgrown and impassable.

The Army team included a dentist and dental hygienist who checked and treated the teeth of all the island's 500 school children.

The exercise, known as Tropic Twlight, is held every two years to provide training in a tropical environment and civil aid.


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