Search the site:
 go search this site

Links in this section

RNZN social media channels

Defence Force leaves long lasting benefits with Santo communities

20110503 Sapper Ron Bright (right) with PU3 Russel, a carpenter from the US forces, working at Ban Ban School in Espiritu Santo

Sapper Ron Bright with PU3 Russel, a carpenter from the US forces, work at Ban Ban School in Espiritu Santo (20110503.jpeg)

10 May 2011

New Zealand Defence Force personnel have put 750 man hours into humanitarian aid and disaster relief tasks in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, in the past week. Despite heavy rain, thousands of local people also came to Luganville Hospital to receive free medical and dental care from qualified NZ, US, Canadian and Australian Forces.

Defence Force personnel have completed far more than initially tasked, with task units finding their own ways to help villages in their local areas contribute to their local economies.

Head of engineering tasks in Matantas, Staff Sergeant John Broderson said the Kiwis were helping anywhere they could.  “If we can help out with catching food and with providing materials for their tourism projects while we’re here, we will. A couple of the local guys came in and told the boys where to go so we can go catch lobster for them; they can then take them into town and make a bit of money by selling them.”

Head of the engineering tasks based in the isolated area of Malao, Corporal Ben James said that the local people took time to get to know the Kiwis.

“The interaction with the locals has been good, they were shy of us at first but then a few of us attended the local church and ever since then they have been visiting us. With the materials that we had left over here at the school, we’ve made the kids new tables and chairs for their classrooms.”

Notably NZ Defence Force personnel have been working alongside US forces at two local schools, to get larger jobs completed. At Ban Ban School a US Military builder, Petty Officer Third Class Builder Tom Russell was impressed with the New Zealanders.

“The New Zealand guys have been great to work with and are really hard workers, we could never have got it finished without them.”

Tasks completed IN ESPIRITU SANTO include:

23 surgical procedures conducted
64 patients screened by NZ Defence Force dental team
Dental are working on MEDCAP programs with NZ, US, Canadian and Australian Forces in rural villages around Santo

Tasks in Big Bay in both Matantas and Malao villages
Tasks completed in Matantas village included:
Water harvesting project at De Quiros Primary School and kindergarten
Re-roofing the local kindergarten
Creation and construction of ablutions in local monument area.

Tasks completed in Malao village included:
Village water harvesting project
Refurbishment of Malao Primary School buildings
Refurbishment of the local Nambei Clinic
Tasks in Luganville Schools
Tasks completed at Ban Ban Primary School:
Kiwi Tradesmen working alongside US Forces constructed:
2x classroom water supply projects including install of bargeboard, guttering, spouting, concrete tank stand, and water tanks.
1x classroom school building including corrugated roof system.
2x water catchment tanks.
1x restroom with six stalls and 300 gallon septic tank.
Lorethiakarkar Primary School:
1x classroom water supply project including bargeboard, guttering, spouting, concrete tank stand, water tanks and install alongside US Forces constructed.
2x classroom school building including corrugated roof system.
2x water catchment tanks.
1x restroom with six stalls and 300 gallon septic tank.
St Theresa High School:
Re-roof and refurbish 2x classrooms.

HMNZS CANTERBURY has remained as the HQ for Pacific Partnership 2011, after initially being scheduled to hand the HQ role back to the USS CLEVELAND on 30 April. The decision was made by Commodore Jesse Wilson, head of the exercise, to extend the hosting of a full military command team and control systems for another week. The pennant and Commodore Wilson (DESRON-23) along with his team will transfer their pennant back to USS CLEVELAND on 7 May.

New Zealand’s contribution to Pacific Partnership has focussed on the nations of Tonga and Vanuatu, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade supporting the development work with approximately $500,000 of funding from the New Zealand Aid Programme.


Contact Nicole Munro, Defence Communications Group, 021 569 148.  For further information follow us on Facebook at NZ Defence Force, and on Twitter at NZDefenceForce.

<< Return to the Media Release Summary
Copyright © 2019 Royal New Zealand Navy | RSS Feeds | Legal Notices | Help | Contact Us |