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Navy Departs for Delivery with a Difference

An ambulance for the Solomon Islands ready for transport in HMNZS CANTERBURY’s cargo deck
An ambulance for the Solomon Islands ready for transport in HMNZS CANTERBURY’s cargo deck, [20130716_PH_L1020290_0002.JPG]

22 July 2013

HMNZS CANTERBURY, the Navy’s Multi-Role Vessel, sailed from Auckland today bound for Kiribati to take a pivotal role in the annual multi-national Pacific Partnership mission (PP13), and this year she is carrying precious cargo for some remote island locations.

Pacific Partnership was launched in 2005 after the devastating December 2004 tsunami in the region. PP13 is the eighth event and participants include New Zealand’s six partner nations (the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, and Malaysia), NGOs, and a joint and combined activity by the partner nations.

New Zealand will be leading the Pacific Partnership mission in Kiribati, building on the knowledge and experience developed after previous development and support activities in the region. Amongst the activities planned is the disposal of live ammunition left on the reef after the World War 2 1943 Battle of Tarawa, refurbishment of the Friendship bridge, a hydrographic survey of the port at Betio, veterinary clinics for sterilisation of pets and stray animals, the renovation of an accommodation block at the Kiribati Teachers College and the repair and renovation of two classroom blocks at the King George V & Elaine Bernacchi High School.

And for the first time since Pacific Partnership began, the Deputy Mission Commander is a New Zealand officer, the Navy’s Captain Tony Millar.

"This is the eighth year of Pacific Partnership, but it is unique as it is the first year where New Zealand takes an active leadership role. We are the lead in Kiribati, and also in Solomon Islands," Captain Millar said.

"The NZ Defence Force is thoroughly involved in Kiribati, with 90 NZDF personnel on the ground working alongside locals and Pacific Partnership nations. HMNZS MANAWANUI will provide support to two explosive ordnance teams in the safe disposal of remnants of war, the Army has Engineers and Health elements engaged in eight and 12 projects respectively across the atoll, and the Air Force has four flights scheduled to bring in supplies and personnel."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade-administered New Zealand Aid Programme is providing funding for projects being carried out by NZDF. "These projects will complement New Zealand’s broader programme of development support for Kiribati, which focuses on lifting economic performance, improving workforce skills, and fostering sustainable / liveable urban areas," said High Commissioner Mike Walsh.

This year some of CANTERBURY’s cargo includes 42 hospital beds and an ambulance for a remote area of the Solomon Islands. The delivery of the medical equipment is the final leg in what has been a five-year journey for the Levin, Petone and Takapuna Rotary Clubs, a mammoth task which has not been lost on Rotary administrator Geoff Pownall.

"The true cost of the hospital beds project is estimated at around $175,000 but with the help of many organisations including Rotary, NZ Police, Spotless Levin and the Navy, the net cost will be around $2,500, most of which has been raised by local and Rotary Club donations," Mr Pownall said.

CANTERBURY will use landing craft to put the container of hospital beds ashore in the area of Namuga on the south-eastern corner of the Solomon Islands. Namuga’s remote location has meant the community has not been able to easily access any form of healthcare for generations, and this project will provide a health facility for the 22,000-strong population.

The NZDF contribution to Pacific Partnership during 2013 includes three Navy ships, three Air Force aircraft, and over 300 NZDF personnel.

ENDS

For more information please contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.


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