Life's a Beach
24 July 2013
Royal New Zealand Navy Chaplain Chris Haines plays catch with a child at Ennylabegan Primary School after presenting the school with donations on behalf of Pacific Partnership 2013.
Chris Haines’ current role has taken him from his home town beach of Mt Maunganui to the more remote beaches of Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati.
Chaplain Haines is a member of the Royal New Zealand Navy, and at the Devonport Naval Base he cares for the spiritual and emotional health of Navy personnel, and conducts base chapel services and ceremonies involving Naval personnel.
For eight weeks however, he is embarked in USS PEARL HARBOR and deployed as part of Pacific Partnership, a large scale multinational operation that is designed to provide real world help to local people, whilst partner nations learn to work more effectively together.
The ship is anchored off Tarawa, Kiribati from 14-26 July, whilst personnel proceed ashore to develop capacity and strengthen community infrastructure through a variety of engineering, medical, veterinary, humanitarian assistance, and community relations projects.
"I fulfil spiritual and ceremonial roles in Pacific Partnership," CHAP Haines explains. "I assist in our ceremonial interface with the Island nations, which is advantageous to relationship building. I also support the efforts of the ships’s chaplains and offer a neutral sounding board for those onboard."
Chaplain Haines is a member of the community relations team, providing support and coordination for events engaging with local communities for entertainment, assistance or education. "I really enjoy the opportunity to engage with the local people, and see things through their perspective."
"This is a great opportunity to work with the US Navy and our partner nations, and gain an understanding of a regional approach to coordination."
In Kiribati, there are 123 NZ Defence Force personnel working alongside I-Kiribati hosts and partnership nations including Australia, Canada, Malaysia, South Korea, and the United States.
Pacific Partnership is now in its eighth year, and continues to evolve. Previously, all missions have been US-led; however this year is unique in that partner nations lead individual phases. New Zealand leads in Kiribati and Solomon Islands, and Australia has successfully led in Papua New Guinea.
For more information, contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.
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