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New Zealand Defence Force deploys 2500 strong multi-national force

01 November 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Ruci Farrell -

Soldiers arriving for the Exercise Southern Katipo programme. Photo/ Supplied.

Soldiers from across the Pacific are part of a multi-national coalition in New Zealand's biggest military exercise.

The coalition of 2500 troops have soldiers from Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

'Exercise Southern Katipo' is the New Zealand Defence Force‚Äôs biggest military exercise. It's held every two years and involves naval, land and air assets and about 2500 personnel from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, New Caledonia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tonga, Timor Leste, United Kingdom and the United States.

They've converted the top of the South Island into a fictional Pacific territory, with troops co-ordinating the full spectrum of operations from maritime, land and air domains, from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to evacuation of civilians and delivery of humanitarian aid. 

Exercise Southern Katipo. Photo/ Facebook - NZ Defence Force.

Major General Tim Gall says technology has changed the way they respond to a crisis in the Pacific and it's important to test and evaluate the expeditionary capability of the troops.

"We're trying to do things the surgical way," he says. "Making sure we've got really good information about what's going on before you intervene, understand what the motivations are and the groups that you're dealing with."