Coalition forces – New Zealand
After Australia, New Zealand has deployed the second largest contingent in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), with New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), New Zealand police and civilian personnel. Until they were withdrawn in 2008, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (NZAF) also provided air transport support, through the deployment of helicopters from No.3 Squadron NZAF.
Contributing nation – New Zealand, RAMSI website
“Alongside Australia, New Zealand plays a key role in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and has significant development assistance programs in place in Solomon Islands. New Zealand civilian advisers are working in various Government ministries and in RAMSI-supported projects. Over thirty police from New Zealand Police are part of RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) and military officers from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) are deployed on a rotational basis as part of RAMSI’s military component.
“Dr Jonathan Austin, from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the Deputy Special Coordinator of RAMSI, working in the Office of the Special Co-ordinator – the mission’s main coordinating body. New Zealand Police officer Graeme Cairns is the Manager of Operations Support of the PPF, and contingent commander of the New Zealand police serving as part of RAMSI’s PPF. Major Tausia Tarsau is Deputy Commander of the Combined Task Force – RAMSI’s military component – and of the New Zealand military contingent in Solomon Islands.”
RAMSI pays tribute to New Zealand on Waitangi Day, Media release, RAMSI website, 6 February 2006
“As New Zealand marks Waitangi Day (Monday 6 February), RAMSI Special Coordinator, James Batley, thanked the country’s government and people for the generosity and strength of their commitment to the regional assistance mission, both in terms of personnel and funding. Mr Batley said New Zealand continued – as it had since the start of RAMSI in July 2003 – to contribute creative and professional people to all three parts of RAMSI – civilian, policing and military. Last week, a platoon of 46 soldiers arrived in country for a three month tour of duty.”
NZ’s Role in the Solomon Islands, 2003 – present day, NZDF website
New Zealand Army platoons deploy to the Solomons for four month rotations and work alongside other supporting nations, which include Australia, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. New Zealand has contributed to RAMSI since its inception in July 2003. Their roles include troops assisting RAMSI police in downtown Honiara, carrying out patrols, and helping with external security at Rove Prison. These important tasks help free up personnel from other Pacific Island countries to undertake community work outside Honiara, for which they are particularly valuable.
The patrols are planned and coordinated by RAMSI’s Military Headquarters based in Honiara where a NZDF military officer is Second in Command. The police component of RAMSI retains overall control of security with the military component providing the support role. This combined contribution maintains the RAMSI mandate which is to promote peace and stability within the Solomon Islands.
New Zealand Police, Australian War Memorial (AWM) photograph
Inspector Mike Wright of the New Zealand Police, on patrol in Honiara, talks to the desk sergeant at the Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP) station in Naha. Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, experienced high rates of violent crime and political unrest for several years before 2003, associated with the activities of armed militia groups and a breakdown of confidence in the Royal Solomon Islands Police