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NZDF Withdrawal from Tonga

New Zealand Defence Force

Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release

Friday, December 1, 2006

NZDF Withdrawal from Tonga

The contingent of 71 New Zealand Defence Force personnel which deployed to restore calm in Tonga earlier this month will return to New Zealand tomorrow.

The New Zealand contingent deployed on November 18 at the request of the Tongan Government.

They formed a Combined Joint Task Force of 150 NZDF and Australian Defence Force personnel, led by New Zealander Lieutenant Colonel Darren Beck.

“The primary focus of the NZDF personnel was to help reopen the airport support the Tongan authorities to restore calm and stability in Nuku’alofa,” Lieutenant Colonel Beck said.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jack Steer praised the efforts of all those involved in the New Zealand-led mission.

“It is testament to the commitment of our personnel, both those deploying and those supporting from New Zealand, that we achieved this deployment so rapidly.”

“New Zealand and Australian defence personnel worked effectively alongside Tongan authorities to ensure a swift restoration of stability. I commend Lieutenant Colonel Beck, and the combined task force on their efficiency and their professionalism during this short duration mission.”

--

FAQs.

What did the NZDF contribute?

The New Zealand contingent is a part of a whole of Government approach to the situation in Tonga and includes both military and non-military personnel.

71 NZ Army personnel deployed to Tonga; the soldiers are predominantly from 2/1st Battalion, based at Linton. The deployed force included infantry soldiers, a Headquarters command element, medical team and air load personnel to operate at the airport.

Senior National Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Darren Beck is leading the New Zealand-led Combined Joint Task Force of approximately 150 New Zealand and Australian military and police.

What has the Task Force done in Tonga?

The combined task force had a focus on restoring security in Tonga, providing assistance and back-up relief to Tongan Defence Service personnel.

Their first task was to establish and maintain security at Fau’amotu Airport to allow commercial flights to recommence. The task force also conducted limited patrols on the capital’s streets.

Why did the NZDF deploy?

The New Zealand-led Combined Joint Task Force is in Tonga at the request of the Tongan Government who has sought assistance from New Zealand and Australia.

New Zealand and Australian Governments have both expressed their desire to assist Tonga in restoring normality to the country.

The information contained in this Internet Email message is intended for the addressee only and may contain privileged information, but not necessarily the official views or opinions of the New Zealand Defence Force. If you are not the intended recipient you must not use, disclose, copy or
distribute this message or the information in it. If you have received this message in error, please Email or telephone the sender immediately.


ENDS

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