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Customs contribution to East Timor recognised

Customs contribution to East Timor recognised

New Zealand Customs officers who have contributed to the establishment of the East Timor Border Service are today being officially honoured by the New Zealand Government, with the presentation of the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM).

Customs Minister Rick Barker says the New Zealand Customs Service officers made a big impact in East Timor.

“Their practical, helpful approach won them many friends.

“New Zealand’s support for East Timor is an example of good international citizenship.”

The New Zealand Customs Service assisted the newly independent state of East Timor to develop its own border service, as part of New Zealand’s commitment to the International United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

A total of 17 New Zealand Customs officers were deployed to East Timor for periods of at least three months. All these Customs staff have been awarded the East Timor Medal, which has been approved by Queen Elizabeth II and recognises the contribution made by New Zealanders, both civilian and military, to the rebuilding of East Timor.

They are also entitled to receive the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM). This medal was instituted this year, to be awarded to New Zealand personnel who have served in operations since 3 September 1945.

In addition, the East Timor Border Service has created a special medal for those who assisted them.

The Minister of Customs Rick Barker will today present the NZOSM to 17 current or former Customs staff, or their representatives.

He will also present the East Timor Border Service Medal.
Medals will be presented to the following staff (or their representatives):

East Timor deployment team 1 Tricia Wihongi (Auckland) Lloyd Smith (Auckland) Michael Dale (Auckland) Craig Chitty (Auckland) Keely Chitty (Auckland)

East Timor deployment team 2 Garth Russell (Auckland) Julie Leaf (Auckland) Trevor Gleave (Tauranga) Duncan McDuff (Christchurch) Des Erby (Christchurch)

East Timor deployment team 3 Warren Bexley (Auckland) Steve Wineti (Tauranga) Bruce Northway (Christchurch) Shaun Fujimoto (Auckland)

East Timor deployment team 4 Mark Farrington (Tauranga) Trevor Wilson (Auckland) Kevin Morel (Wellington)

Comptroller of Customs Robin Dare and Auckland Airports and Marine Manager Paul Campbell, who was the project manager for the deployments, will also receive the East Timor Border Service Medal.

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