NZ relief team complete tasking

This article has photo gallery Published on New Zealand Department of Defence (author), CPL Amanda McErlich (photographer), LAC Chad Sharman (photographer)

Location(s): Kaikoura, New Zealand

Topic(s): HMAS Darwin (F04), Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR)

About 120 sailors from Australia, Canada and the US joined colleagues from the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha to form a multinational team that went ashore in Kaikoura to support relief efforts. (photo: LAC Chad Sharman)
About 120 sailors from Australia, Canada and the US joined colleagues from the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha to form a multinational team that went ashore in Kaikoura to support relief efforts.

In an exceptionally Kiwi way, the New Zealand Defence Force thanked a multinational crew of Australian, Canadian and US military personnel for supporting its disaster relief operation during a traditional powhiri at Kaikoura’s local marae.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Tim Gall, said the show of support was fantastic.

"Our closest partners offered support without question and quickly mobilised to stand with our sailors, soldiers and airmen to provide support to the people of Kaikoura,” he said.

“I would also like to acknowledge the offers of assistance from the other visiting navies. 

"These offers of support are testament to the strength of camaraderie that exists among these nations, all of whom have experienced their own national tragedies in recent years.” 

Warships and maritime surveillance aircraft from Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States, in the country to take part in the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary, were diverted to Kaikoura to support the disaster relief operation. 

Four maritime helicopters from the warships helped offload about 216 tonnes of aid supplies from the amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury. Surveillance aircraft from Japan and the US conducted surveys of quake-damaged areas.

About 120 sailors from Australia, Canada and the US joined colleagues from local frigate HMNZS Te Kaha to form a multinational team that went ashore in Kaikoura to support relief efforts.

Commander Steve Lenik, Commanding Officer of Te Kaha, said the multinational team helped clear debris in primary and secondary schools and distributed hundreds of chemical toilets to Kaikoura households.   

“The sailors helped fix sewage lines and went door-knocking to conduct welfare checks. Some of them also helped prepare food 
for the community at the marae," he said.

“It had been quite an eye-opening experience, especially for the younger sailors and a sobering one at that,” Commander Lenik said.

Another 174 Kaikoura residents, one cat and 13 dogs were evacuated by Canterbury, bringing to about 900 the total number of people rescued.

“During the first evacuations on Wednesday, we were packed to the rafters with about 450 evacuees on board,” Commander Simon Rooke, the Commanding Officer of Canterbury, said. 

The New Zealand Defence Force mobilised about 560 personnel, at least 11 aircraft and four vessels to support the Government’s earthquake response, Australian Navy frigate, HMAS Darwin was part of the response effort.