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Kiwi Soldiers To Serve In The Solomons

Monday 30 January 2006

Kiwi Soldiers To Serve In The Solomons

Forty-six soldiers will depart Christchurch Wednesday 1 February for a three-month deployment to the Solomon Islands.

The deployment is part of New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) contribution to the Australian led Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

The platoon, from Burnham’s 2/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment will be based in Honiara.

NZDF’s current contribution to the Solomon Islands is:

- A three month platoon rotation of 46 personnel

- The continuous deployment of a military officer to act as the Deputy Commander to the Military component of RAMSI

The deployment will travel to the Solomon Islands in a Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757.

FAREWELL

The contingent will be farewelled by Major General Lou Gardiner, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.

Outline of events (subject to change):

11am The contingent arrives at RNZAF Air Movements Terminal, Christchurch Airport

11:20 Contingent and families talk to guests and media

11:30 Formal farewell including speeches, prayers and poroporoaki

11:40 Contingent starts departure procedures

11:55 RNZAF B757 departs

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

New Zealand Defence Force’s Contribution to Solomon Islands

The New Zealand Defence Force has had a presence, in varying numbers, in the Solomon Islands over the past five years.

The Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) commenced in late July 2003 following a request for assistance to restore law and order from the Solomon Islands government.

RAMSI had the support of the Pacific Island Forum, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations. Over 2000 police, military and civilian personnel from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea have served with RAMSI.

New Zealand’s initial contribution was a detachment of four Iroquois helicopters; crews, engineering and support staff, and headquarters based staff officers. In August 2003 a platoon from 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, joined the mission bringing the number of NZDF personnel to 222.

From a peak of 1,700 in 2003, military numbers from all contributors reduced to 650, and in October 2004 reduced further to a platoon sized group plus support staff. Platoon contributions are provided on rotation of three-month deployments, by New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. During their three month rotation the New Zealand Defence Force platoon will carry out daily patrols in Honiara, as well as regular patrols on Guadalcanal and, where necessary, other outlying islands.

The patrols are planned and coordinated by RAMSI’s Military Headquarters based in Honiara where a NZDF military officer is Second in Command.

The police component of RAMSI retains overall control of security with the military component providing the support role. This combined contribution maintains the RAMSI mandate which is to promote peace and stability within the Solomon Islands.

246 police from 11 countries including New Zealand, Australia, and Pacific Island States remain in the Solomon Islands.

ENDS


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