The New Zealand Defence Force contingent to Niue under exercise Tropic Twilight departed the island yesterday afternoon on the C-130 Hercules aircraft.
The 40-person NZDF team consisted of 30 army and 10 navy personnel who resided at the Lialagi school in Lakepa in the past few weeks. A mixture of electricians, plumbers, builders, chefs, medics and movement operators made up the team.
BCN News spoke with Troop Commander Kendyl Finlay last Thursday who explained the purpose of exercise Tropic Twilight.
“Tropic Twilight happens every two years. It’s a group of engineers from the New Zealand Army that moves around between the (Pacific) islands and helps out with jobs that the island needs help with. It gets our guys out into the tools doing what they are employed to do really,” says Finlay.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tropic Twilight was postponed in the past two years.
But this year as travel restrictions relaxed and Niue opened its borders for quarantine-free travel, the NZDF arrived on the island on Tuesday the 12th of July last month and have been working to rebuild and renovate some of the island’s important public facilities.
One of their primary jobs have been at Niue High School upgrading the science lab, school hall, and the ablutions block.
A great deal of rewiring, re-plumbing, re-flooring and cosmetic work was done to upgrade these facilities.
Other tasks included the renewal of the Niue Foou Hospital car park, a newly-built playground for Niue Primary School, and hydrographic surveying conducted by the navy crew of the contingent was done at the Alofi wharf, Namukulu ramp, and Avatele beach.
All tasks were successfully completed before the contingent departed the island yesterday afternoon.
Commander Finlay says that “Niue has been beautiful. The people here are so hospitable and it’s just been an amazing experience especially because of Covid the guys haven’t been able to travel for a good two years. This is the first trip any of our guys have been on. So everyone has been really enjoying it.”
“Thank you for having us. The guys have loved it so far and everyone has been super accommodating so thanks for letting us be here and we do appreciate it,” says Finlay.
Niue is appreciative of all the work the NZDF have contributed to upgrade some of the island’s important public facilities in these past few weeks.