NZ Defence Force reconnaissance visit to undergo tasks on Niue public facilities

Picture [left to right]: NZ Defence Force Liaison Officer Kendall Finlay, Robbie Rickwood and S. Blackley

Three members of the New Zealand Defence Force arrived on the island a week ago to undergo a few projects assessing some of Niue’s public facilities. 

The three-man team are namely NZ Defence Force Liaison Officer Kendall Finlay, Carpenter by Trade Sergeant Robbie Rickwood and Electrician S. Blackley. 

Their current role will be to assess some of the key sites on the island which are to be completed over a one week period. 

“Our main focus will be at the high school fixing up the science lab and doing other few small jobs like working on the hall and the ablutions getting them up to speed”, says Sergeant Rickwood. 

BCN news spoke with the New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue Helen Tunnah yesterday afternoon who also explained the purpose of their visit. 

“The New Zealand Defence Force is here for a reconnaissance visit for exercise Tropic Twilight that’s a humanitarian exercise that we run in the Pacific every year. This year it’s scheduled for Niue. It involves the Defence Force coming and working on some public facilities usually in the Social Services like education and health and it’s funded by the New Zealand development programme.”

Tropic Twilight was meant to arrive on Niue in 2020 and 2021 but due to the Covid-19 outbreak it was postponed. 

However, this year the exercise was able to commence with their project to the island. 

“We are excited that we’ve been able to get the reconnaissance visit up here now and that they will be able to come in July”, says Helen. 

A contingent of 41 members from the NZ Defence Force will be arriving in early July. These also include some members from the NZ Army, potential divers from the navy, plumbers, combat engineers and plant operators, says Liaison Officer Finlay. 

“What we do from here once the team has been in and assess the amount of work that each building might require and the technical elements around it then the government of Niue and the government of New Zealand will finalise the projects that they will work on”, says NZ High Commissioner Helen Tunnah. 

In the meantime, the three-man team are enjoying life on the island and are looking forward to exploring the island after their tasks are completed.

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