Army Captains Finish Epic Walk for Son

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

25 March 2019

New Zealand Army Captains Laura and Tane North have finished their epic walk to raise money for their son’s medical treatment, and 700 kilometres on they still have a spring in their step.

Elijah, 3-1/2, the third of the Upper Hutt couple’s four children, was born with microcephaly and an undiagnosed genetic condition. The microcephaly means he has a small head because of abnormal brain development, and the genetic condition affects most of his body. He cannot speak, is legally blind, is fed through a tube and has a total of 14 health issues.

He has made huge progress following four three-week treatment sessions at the Neurological and Physical Abilitation Centre in Australia. His parents want to take him back for more treatment and aimed to raise the $56,000 required to give him four more three-week sessions over the next two years by walking from Wellington to Auckland over 11 days.

Three days into their journey they were shocked and saddened by the Christchurch mosque shootings, and Captain Laura North said the victims and their families had been in their minds.

“Our thoughts have been with the Muslim community throughout the walk. The tragedy that those families are experiencing is just horrific,” she said.

Chief of Army Major General John Boswell was at the finish line at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Saturday and said he was incredibly proud of the couple for their determination, and of the Army and the New Zealand Defence Force for its support of them.

“At a time when there’s such tragedy and horror in New Zealand they are everything that is good about who we are as people, as an organisation and as a nation,” he said.

“The challenge they set themselves and the way they stepped up to that challenge and have achieved 700 kilometres in 11 days – it’s a magnificent outcome for them.”

Captain Laura North said the couple had initially planned to do the walk on their own but realised they could not have done it without the support of their Army colleagues.

“A huge thank you first and foremost to the Defence Force and the New Zealand Army, because without them we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” she said.

“And thank you to everyone who has donated, whether it’s been money in the buckets, through the Givealittle page – #walkforwonderboy – time helping us with the barbecues or through sponsorship. It’s been incredible and we thank you all so much.

“We’ve made it.”


Pilots and Helicopter Loadmasters Graduate at Ohakea

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

25 March 2019

Seven new pilots and three new helicopter loadmasters have graduated at Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Ohakea.

The graduates received their brevets from Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark in front of proud family, friends and fellow RNZAF personnel.

Air Vice-Marshal Clark congratulated the graduates on their commitment and skills.

“You can wear your brevets with a sense of accomplishment and as a reminder of the high standard you have achieved,” he said.

“From here on your careers will continue to be demanding, rewarding and at times exhilarating.”

Managing risk was a core part of the military aviation profession, he said.

“Sometimes the challenges you encounter will be uncomfortable, inconvenient and will require sacrifice. That’s why we draw on our military values of courage, commitment and comradeship.”

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Sword of Honour was awarded to Flying Officer Jason Anderson as the graduate who achieved a distinguished pass in all phases of the course. He was also awarded the De Lange Trophy, awarded to the pilot who gained the highest final flying mark on graduation from pilot training.

Pilot Officer James Robertson-Bickers received the Wigram Trophy, awarded to the pilot who graduated with the highest final academic mark.

The new pilots, six of whom are in the RNZAF and one in the Royal New Zealand Navy, will be posted either to the RNZAF helicopter fleet, where they will train on the 109 light utility helicopter at No. 3 Squadron, or to No. 42 Squadron to train on the  fixed-wing Beechcraft King Air 350.

The helicopter pilots will then go on to fly the NH90 medium utility helicopter or SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopters at No. 3 or No. 6 Squadron respectively, while the fixed-wing pilots will go on fly either the C-130H(NZ) Hercules or Boeing 757-2K2 at No. 40 Squadron, or the P-3K2 Orion at No. 5 Squadron at Base Auckland.

The helicopter loadmasters will work as air crew for either the A109 or NH90 aircraft at No 3 Squadron at Base Ohakea.

Graduates’ Biographies – Pilots Course:

Flying Officer Jason Anderson
Flying Officer Anderson grew up in Whanganui. He attended Massey University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Aviation majoring in air transport pilot. During his studies he completed a flight instructor’s course, then worked as a flight instructor for Massey University.

Seeking a more exciting day-to-day job, Flying Officer Anderson joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in July 2016 and started his wings course in August 2017.

Pilot Officer Hayley Vincent
Pilot Officer Vincent grew up in Christchurch and attended Lincoln High School. After High School she attended Canterbury University for one year, studying biochemistry and physics, and completed Outward Bound.

She joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in January 2017 to begin training and started her wings course in August 2017.

Pilot Officer Brandon Marr
Pilot Officer Marr spent most of his childhood in Auckland, where he went to Auckland Grammar School for his later years of high school. He finished school and had a gap year, where he completed Outward Bound and went travelling.

He Joined the RNZAF in July 2016 and began his wings course in August 2017.

Flying Officer Cody Hughes
Flying Officer Hughes grew up in Southland and attended James Hargest High school. Following this he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force as an Avionics Technician, where he worked on No. 40 and No. 6 Squadrons at RNZAF Base Auckland, reaching the rank of corporal.

He applied to become a pilot in 2015, beginning his wings course in August 2017. 

Sub Lieutenant Kent Wheeler
Sub Lieutenant Wheeler grew up on a farm in south Auckland. He began a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Auckland while applying to join the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).

He joined the RNZN in January 2016 and began his pilot training in August 2017.

Flying Officer J. Robertson-Bickers
Flying Officer Robertson-Bickers grew up in Auckland and attended Pakuranga College, before studying at University of Auckland. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering with Honours. He worked as a process development engineer before joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 2016, and began pilot training in August 2017.

Flying Officer Benjamin Johnson
Flying Officer Johnson grew up in Wellington and joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 2011 as a medic. After graduating from the Defence Health School with a Graduate Diploma in Health Science he was posted to Base Medical Flight in RNZAF Base Auckland, where he served for three years. During this time he deployed on numerous operations and exercises domestically and internationally. Following his interest in aircraft he specialised in Aviation Medicine and Aeromedical Evacuation.

He commissioned in 2017 to retrain as a pilot and soon after was posted to No. 14 Squadron to start pilot training.

Helicopter Basic Course:

Acting Corporal Drew Manning
Acting Corporal Manning grew up in Feilding and attended Feilding High School. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in May 2017 as a Helicopter Loadmaster under training. Upon completion of his recruit course he completed various combined aircrew courses, as well as Aviation Medicine and Survival Training. Then he completed Air Movements Phase 1, working in air movements operations at RNZAF Base Auckland and the Rongotai Air Movements Terminal in Wellington. He began his Helicopter Basic Course in August 2018.

Acting Corporal Alex Shepherd
Acting Corporal Shepherd grew up on the Hibiscus Coast and attended Orewa College. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in May 2017 as a Helicopter Loadmaster under training. He went on to complete his recruit course and various combined aircrew courses, as well as Aviation Medicine and Survival Training. He completed Air Movements Phase 1 training and worked in air movements operations at RNZAF Base Auckland and then the Rongotai Air Movements Terminal in Wellington. He began his Helicopter Basic Course in August 2018.

Acting Corporal Adam Brown
Acting Corporal Brown grew up in Dannevirke and attended Totara College. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in September 2017 as a Helicopter Loadmaster under training. After completing his recruit course he was posted to No. 42 Squadron at RNZAF Base Ohakea, then completed various combined aircrew courses, as well as Aviation Medicine and Survival Training. He began his Helicopter Basic Course in August 2018.


Terrorism a first for NZ but decades now for Afghanistan


Christchurch – While last Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch was the first for New Zealand, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Australia and non-resident to New Zealand says his country has been victims of violence and terrorism for more than four decades.

Ambassador Wahidullah Waissi is in Christchurch to pay tribute to the victims in Christchurch, meet NZ authorities and members of the Afghan community in the city.

And today are burial funerals for two Afghan-born New Zealanders – murdered in the terrorist attack on the Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave.

“We condemn these brutal terrorist attacks on peace-loving New Zealanders in Christchurch and we believe there is no place for violence and extremism in Aotearoa New Zealand and in any other parts of the world,” Waissi says.

“But Afghanistan has constantly been a target of terrorism. For the last few years, we have been losing around 10 to 15 people every day to international terrorism.

“When we first heard of the attack in Australia, no one knew why but wondered how it could happen in such a peaceful environment as New Zealand. We never initially realised it was a terrorist act.

“Then when it was announced as an act of terrorism, it was just another assault on people, now in this part of the world. It is understood that international terrorists and extremists do not know borders, race, religion or country. Those who commit such brutal acts, do not believe in any religious values and principles.

“Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has offered his condolences to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has shown her great leadership at this difficult moment and we have passed that on. We regard New Zealand as one of our closest allies.”

“It is a call to embrace inter-faith peace, solidarity, and unity against extremism on all sides.”

Four Afghans have been treated in Christchurch hospital for gunshot wounds.

Ambassador Waissi also endorsed the brave actions of Abdul Aziz who fought the terrorist at the Linwood mosque preventing many more deaths.

A public vigil will be held around the Masjid Al Noor mosque for the first prayers there since the attack tomorrow afternoon.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.


NZ among the worst countries for physical inactivity


Christchurch – New Zealand is rated 10th best in the world for gym membership but we have some of the worst physical inactivity levels globally, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

He has just returned from a World Health Organisation conference in Geneva where he led a session on global standards for exercise professionals.

“For a country like ours, we should be much more active. About 14 percent of the population have gym memberships which puts us right up there, but we also have some of the worst inactivity levels with 40 percent of New Zealanders inactive which just doesn’t meet the WHO levels for active societies. This makes us 13th worst globally for inactvity,” Beddie says.

“New Zealand is fast becoming a country of haves and have nots when it comes to physical activity.

“WHO believes anything more than 28 percent of the population not exercising is unacceptable – and in New Zealand it is even worse or a high level of inactivity for children.

“Globally the average rate of inactivity (defined as less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week) is 28 percent. New Zealand’s 40 percent inactivity rate is therefore very concerning, especially considering that the rate for childrens’ inactivity is even higher (as high as 90 percent in some age groups).

“My presentation was about how the exercise industry has developed global standards for exercise professionals, now adopted by 12 countries including the US, India, China, Canada, NZ, Australia, the UK.

“NZ was at the forefront of standards development for exercise professionals, being the third country in the world to develop a national registration system underpinned by qualifications mapped to government standards.

“The WHO meeting was very productive with lots of actionable steps, including the likely introduction of inclusive fitness which is a campaign driven by UNESCO. WHO are looking at including that initiative into their global physical activity plan.

“ExerciseNZ has already agreed to launch it in New Zealand. It’s all about making exercise accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or disability.”

Those with disabilities have barriers to taking part in some activities but this initiative is training staff, developing specific programmes where needed and supporting those with disabilities to take part in existing programmes and services offered by exercise providers.

Beddie says in the context of the UNESCO initiative, New Zealand had more than one million people who would fall into the disability category such sight loss, physical and mental disability and chronic health conditions.

He also attended the IHRSA conference in San Diego and he hosted the Australasian forum discussing how to support non-exercising groups with exercise, instructor standards, and career pathways for people entering the exercise industry.

“The big issue is how to support those that don’t traditionally take part in exercise or haven’t done so in many years.

“Finally but most importantly, our heartfelt thoughts go out to the families, friends and whanau of those affected by last week’s tragedy in Christchurch.

“As part of the Christchurch community, we stand united to say terrorism has no place in our country. Our fitness community in particular prides itself on being inclusive and where there is no room for racial or religious discrimination, and all are welcome.”

For further information contact Richard Beddie on 027 5205744 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Photo: Richard Beddie with WHO delegates in Geneva


The end of our innocence


Opinion editorial

By Paul Kench, the Canterbury Police crime services manager (officer in charge, CIB) at time of February 22, 2011 earthquakes

Christchurch – In retirement, I’m reluctant to join the social media world as a commenter, informed or otherwise, however for my own peace of mind I’ve decided to record some of my thoughts, relating to the sickening and fatal events at the Christchurch Muslim mosques last Friday, March 15.

I was privileged in my final years of police service to have significant exposure nationally and internationally to the inner-most workings of the complex worlds of intelligence gathering and investigations in the counter terrorism (CT) space.

I’m not a fan of the labelling definition types of offending as the reality is much of it is straight out criminal behaviour.

Script writers prepare decision-makers with a series of complex scenarios for training and exercise purposes and having been subjected to this in the past.

I have always expressed my opinion that one day New Zealand would be a target for terrorism. The magnitude and scale of what occurred in my own city last Friday has staggered me the most.

Like most New Zealanders, I could only watch and observe on television as events unfolded, albeit with an in-depth knowledge of what would be occurring from the ground floor front line response, to the highest levels of what would be happening at ODESC, which is a secret group which forms at times of national crisis.

Immediate coverage illustrated the danger of the speculative experts and a range of commentators articulating a sound bite or headline that was given as a statement of facts, unchallenged.

The danger is that much of that speculation will be untrue and not factual, however in the minds of those listening opinions formed creating rumours that will not be debunked even once the facts fully emerge.

Media interviews with so called experts and other commentators who feel obliged to comment on areas beyond their stations and subject knowledge are extremely unhelpful and dangerous.

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by knee jerk reactions as commentators offer solutions to any manner of issue when the actual problem isn’t defined with any accuracy or proper analysis.

One illustration is uninformed commentary about any potential watchlist. We don’t live in utopia. A watchlist isn’t the panacea that guarantees evil things will be stopped or won’t occur.

Even if someone ticks off some boxes and is on a watchlist, we don’t live in a society whereby law enforcement can automatically remove that someone.

Defence lawyers make their livelihoods on challenging law enforcement policy, procedure, guilt or innocence of their clients, always arguing their client would not conduct themselves in any manner the authorities may be arguing.

There is a reluctance to blame individuals for their own actions. Blame must lay with someone else or some other factor not the individual themselves.

A lone wolf is someone who operates on their own accord, whatever may be occurring in their own mind, sound or otherwise. If the lone wolf doesn’t share their thoughts and actions with someone else the likelihood of any future planning or activity is most unlikely to reach the ears of anyone else and be uncovered.

The key components of any terrorism assessment are the intent and capability of the offender (s). Without one the other won’t happen.

It’s much easy to join the dots after the event and if authorities aren’t aware of something as illustrated above, they cannot magically join those dots unless the subject is a target. In the complex variables of the human mind there is no accounting for pure evil.

The major takeaway for me is that in response to Friday’s events, New Zealanders should be very proud of the New Zealand Police. I know that I am.

The fact that despite the carnage and whatever comes from the background of this evil perpetrator and despicable human being, who has tarnished the name of my great city, was in custody and alive within 36 minutes from when his attack commenced.

Commissioner Mike Bush has shown incredible leadership and public reassurance in that he leads an organisation of many good people, who know what they are about and who will get to the core of what occurred and the why, without speculating but by relying on facts.

Footnote: Paul Kench is a retired NZ Police Detective Superintendent. He had qualified in Australia as a Counter Terrorism Senior Investigating Officer.


Christchurch Muslims in grief, shock


Christchurch  – A member of the Muslim community in Christchurch says the Muslims in the city are in a shock following the terrorist attacks.

Hedayat Najib, head of Business Studies at the Abacus Institute of Studies in Christchurch, says he and his family have been in contact with friends and families.

But they could not make any direct contact with friends who had been shot but survived the shooting, he says.

“I have just made contact with one of our friends who was shot. He is alive and I am heading to the hospital now.

“A friend sent a text just after the attack saying he was injured but communications via text has been difficult.

“My family was immediately thrown into shock and are very scared. My wife Nilab was shaking all night. Our kids were scared and we all slept in the same room locking every door to assure my kids of their safety.

“When I heard the news of Haji Dawood Nabi, whom I have always called uncle, I had to leave the room to cry as we did not want our kids get further distressed. At least two other family friends are dead.

“The atmosphere in the community is that we are all in a state of grief and, at the same time, in shock. We wonder just how such an event can happen in Christchurch, what we call heaven on earth.

“Saying all this, our mindsets towards our shared home (New Zealand) and our other Kiwi brothers and sisters will not change.

“We are all Kiwis and we will stand taller and stronger than before, to combat terrorist. This cancer, which is terrorism, in today’s world does not have religion or colour.

“We need to stand united together and will defy terrorism together by engaging, communicating and embracing each others values’ and contributions.

“The people who commit such atrocities are just criminals who are scared of difference and diversity,” Najib says.

He was an Afghan refugee and came to Christchurch Afghanistan as a teenager. He has a post graduate masters degree from the University of Canterbury.

Najib says his life changed in the early 1990s when the warlords broke into Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. During the factional fighting that followed many atrocities were committed and about 60,000 Kabulis were killed.


Auckland Man ‘Privileged’ to be Part of NZDF Antarctic Team

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

7 March 2019

On a continent reliant on aircraft for the majority of travel, Royal New Zealand Air Force refueller Corporal Tom Watson was a pretty important cog in the Antarctic machine over summer.

Usually based in the Operations Squadron at Base Auckland, Corporal Watson was deployed to McMurdo Station, working with the United States Antarctic programme, in October last year.

He was part of a contingent of about 220 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel who worked at Scott Base and the US National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station between October and February, making it the largest NZDF mission during the summer.

Scott Base, New Zealand’s permanent research support station on the continent, accommodates about 85 scientists and support staff, while McMurdo Station is the hub of United States scientific activity in Antarctica and is home to more than 900 scientists and support people during the summer.

“It’s really a different place down there – it’s like stepping foot on another planet,” Corporal Watson said. “But you do get used to it and the way of life – it’s just a lot colder.”

His role was to deal with any issues relating to fuel, whether it be at McMurdo Station or one of the airfields.

“We were supporting the flights that go to and from the various field camps and even to South Pole Station. So knowing that we were directly assisting them and they couldn’t get around without us made me feel pretty proud of the job we were doing.

“One of my first times out was to check one of the fuel caches that was out on the ice shelf. You look around everywhere and there’s nothing but flat ice everywhere. It was really nerve-wracking because without a plane there is no way home.”

Corporal Watson, who grew up in Mt Eden, always wanted to join the military and walk in the footsteps of his grandfather, who was in the New Zealand Army.

“But I have a love of aviation, so the Air Force was the natural choice,” he said.

This was the second summer Corporal Watson had spent in Antarctica and he said being sent there was a privilege.

“Antarctica is one of two places in the world where it’s completely devoid of civilisation, and that’s what makes it so special. It’s by itself and we’re trying our best to maintain it and study it and explore it.

“I’m proud of the work the NZDF is doing down there. It’s great knowing how much support we provide to the scientific community.”


New Navy Commander Has Strong Links to Otago

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

11 March 2019

Taking command of HMNZS Otago was a fitting step for new Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Ben Martin, who has a strong connection to the Otago region.

Lieutenant Commander Martin, who took command of the Offshore Patrol Vessel at a ceremony at Devonport Naval Base earlier this month, was born in Auckland but both of his parents’ families settled in Dunedin in the 1800s and his extended family still live there. 

He also studied at Otago University and has happy memories surfing Dunedin’s beaches as a student.

Connections to the navy also run deep, with his grandfathers and great-uncle, from Dunedin, all serving as navy commanders. His father, Rear Admiral John Martin, was Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) when he retired last year, and his great-uncle Rob served as Executive Officer of the Frigate HMNZS Otago in 1980-82. 

Lieutenant Commander Martin, 34, who is a mine warfare and clearance diving officer and a specialist in explosive ordnance disposal, said one of the things he enjoyed about the RNZN was the constant opportunity to improve himself.

“I see this posting as that – an opportunity to forge a new team and learn new skills,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting to sea and getting to know the team and the ship. It’s an exciting moment.”

He joined the RNZN in 2003 as a Reservist and Chatham Scheme Officer – where the RNZN supports three years of study – and gained a degree in Land Survey and Civil Engineering from Otago University. 

“I joined the RNZN because I liked the idea of contributing to the community and travelling,” he said. “With the Navy funding my training and my degree it was attractive offer.”

He joined the RNZN as a trainee hydrographic officer and continued to excel with his early training courses – including Officer of the Watch training.

“This gave me the opportunity to join Royal Navy frigate HMS Iron Duke in the Caribbean, doing a counter-narcotics patrol, where we stopped and seized narcotics trafficked between South America and the United States.”

On his return to New Zealand in 2009 Lieutenant Commander Martin joined HMNZS Te Kaha and served as Officer of the Watch for two years, while he also completed a Ship’s Diver Course and helped out as Executive Officer and Navigator on the Inshore Patrol Vessels.

He added the Able Divers Course in 2011 and gained diving skills that led to posts and training in explosive ordnance disposal teams.

He completed the Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officers Course at HMAS Penguin in Australia in 2013. This involved a wide range of diving and supervision modules, as well as the six-month Explosive Ordnance Disposal Course and the Mine Warfare Officers Course. 

Back in Auckland, he became Executive Officer of the Operational Dive Team, followed by a one-year posting with the RNZN’s Fleet Personnel and Training Organisation as a training officer, before serving as Officer in Charge of the Clearance Diving Group and undertaking the Command Course last year.

One of the highlights was leading the mine counter measures task unit at Exercise RIMPAC, the largest maritime military exercise in the world, in San Diego last year, he said. 

“Our team took charge of six other countries and about 100 people and cleared the port and beaches of San Diego of sea mines.  That was a really good challenge.”

Outside of work, Lieutenant Commander Martin is dedicated to supporting his wife Rosemary, who has just graduated as a midwife, and keeping up with their three-year-old son.

“He keeps me pretty well grounded.”

Lieutenant Commander Martin sees command as a privilege, which he doesn’t take lightly. 

“It’s a role of stewardship of our people and guardianship of the ship itself,” he said.

“The motto of the ship, ‘Kaitiaki ki te Tonga – Southern Guardian’, says it all to me. This is an opportunity to live that vision – to be the southern guardian while looking after our people and the ship.”


NZDF Begins Resupply Mission to Raoul Island

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

11 March 2019

Royal New Zealand Navy offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington left Auckland today for the first of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) twice-yearly resupply missions to the Kermadec Islands.

During the resupply mission from today until 22 March HMNZS Wellington will transport about 20 government staff and 13 tonnes of supplies and equipment to help sustain the operations of the Department of Conservation (DOC), MetService and GNS Science in Raoul Island over the next six months.

Lieutenant Commander Tim Hall, the Commanding Officer of HMNZS Wellington, said after weeks of preparation the crew was eager to get on with the job.

“Our Defence Force has supported the work of other government agencies in the Kermadecs for years and recognises that their work is important for our country’s biosecurity and public safety and for scientific advancement,” he said.

DOC is sending six staff to replace those who have been working on the island for the past 12 months and to conduct routine maintenance work on their equipment.
Steve Knowles, MetService’s Network Observations Manager, said MetService staff would be training DOC personnel on the safe use of hydrogen so they could release hydrogen-filled weather balloons carrying instruments that measure wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity and pressure.

The data from the weather balloons would be used to forecast global weather and track tropical storms in the area, he said.

GNS Science volcanologist Brad Scott said technicians from the agency would replace the seven-metre communications pole with a nine-metre steel lattice mast on Moumoukai Peak.

Commercial divers contracted by GNS Science will carry out maintenance work on the tsunami gauges at Fishing Rock and Boat Cove on Raoul Island, which detect the threat of tsunamis and feed the data to a national warning system managed by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

On Friday the NZDF obtained the all-clear from biosecurity inspectors, ticking off the remaining requirement for the trip.

Lieutenant Commander Hall said HMNZS Wellington and an embarked Seasprite helicopter passed the quarantine inspection conducted by three DOC staff and three pest-detection dogs.

DOC Conservation Dogs Programme manager Sally Thomas said the inspection checked for rodents, plague skinks, plant material, seeds and soil.

“Quarantine inspections carried out by pest-detection dogs help us keep our islands and mainland sanctuaries pest-free,” Ms Thomas said.

“This is important because many of our precious unique species need to live on these islands without the threat of predation from introduced pests.”


NZDF Delivers Dental Treatment in Hawkes Bay

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

11 March 2019

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has teamed up with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board to provide essential dental care to adults with significant oral health needs.

From today until 22 March, a combined team of military and civilian dentists will be operating from the Cook Islands Community Centre in Flaxmere to provide oral health care information and dental care and treatment.

The team will also run sessions at a number of local schools to help highlight the importance of good oral health and healthy lifestyle choices, and provide defence career information as part of Exercise Wisdom Tooth.

Lieutenant Colonel Lee Turner, Officer Commanding of the NZDF’s Dental Services, said the joint initiative at Hawke’s Bay mirrored community outreach activities that the NZDF conducts regularly in New Zealand and the Southwest Pacific.

The NZDF had run similar outreach programmes in Bay of Plenty, Kaitaia, Vanuatu and Samoa, Lieutenant Colonel Turner said.

“For a number of years now, our Defence Force has been working alongside communities to support their health promotion efforts,” he said.

“Apart from supporting communities, these outreach activities also provide an opportunity for our personnel to practise their skills in a field environment, as part of their ongoing training.”

Bernard Te Paa, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Executive Director – Health Improvement and Equity, said the joint initiative would make a difference to adults and families throughout Hawke’s Bay.

“The initiative has been given the name Tō Waha, which signifies the importance of our mouths in every aspect of our lives – how we speak, eat, smile, and generally how we feel about ourselves,” Mr Te Paa said. 

“The messages and the treatment so many people will receive will make huge inroads to improving oral health and raising awareness of its importance in our communities, from Wairoa to Central Hawke’s Bay.
“School sessions will be an added opportunity for students to learn about oral health, as well as being able to take those messages home so everyone benefits.”
The NZDF contingent is a mix of Regular Force personnel and Reservists and includes dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, medics, career advisors and physical training instructors.