Skip to main content

NZ Army electrician sparked by exotic start to her military career

Lance Corporal Krimson Pamata has just started out as a New Zealand Army electrician but has ticked off an early career highlight...

28 May, 2024

...sleeping under mosquito netting on a remote Tongan island and tackling the challenge of not being able to duck down the road to get electrical supplies.

Lance Corporal Pamata, who was born in Palmerston North and attended Palmerston North Girls’ High School, recently took part in Exercise Tropic Twilight.

More than 60 NZ Army personnel partnered with Tongan forces to complete construction projects supporting resilience against natural disasters and provided a free dental clinic.

She completed her apprentice qualification last year and it was her first deployment with the NZ Army. The isolated Ha’apai islands made for a unique work site compared to Linton Military Camp.

When I first thought about joining the Army, I never thought I would end up in such a remote location and sleeping under a mosquito net every night, but it was the highlight of my career.

Tropic Twilight projects included upgrades and repairs to the Ha’ateiho Community Centre, the Meteorological Centre and Pangai Government Primary School.

These provide communities with easily accessible places to gather, shelter and provide clean water during a natural disaster.

“We had a complete field set-up there and we made do with what we had. You couldn’t go to a store as you can in New Zealand, if you didn’t have the exact supplies you needed, you just had to adapt,” Lance Corporal Pamata said.

“We upgraded switchboards, lights and mains and fitted out the new ablutions block. Some of the set-up before was rusting, falling apart and exposed. We made it safer, more efficient and increased the overall lifespan.

“All those jobs might be small to us, but you know you are making a big difference.”

2. Tropic Twilight 3. Tropic Twilight 4. Tropic Twilight

More than 60 NZ Army personnel partnered with Tongan forces to complete construction projects supporting resilience against natural disasters, along with providing a free dental clinic in the Ha’apai island group

Lance Corporal Pamata said she loved being a sparkie and there was a good sense of job satisfaction.

When you see the lights come on, and know you can do a technical job not everyone else can – it’s a cool feeling.

Lance Corporal Pamata was one of only three females in the 38-strong construction troop but said that didn’t stop her from getting stuck into the job in Ha’apai or back home.

“Some people are shocked to see a female turn up to the site but I have gotten used to it and it doesn’t faze me anymore,” she said. 

“There are lots of amazing women in engineering within the New Zealand Defence Force and we all support each other.”

Tropic Twilight provided the opportunity to work with electricians from Tonga, Australia and Japan has helped to grow her skills.

“Everyone has a different way of doing things so it was great to learn how others would tackle a problem,” she said.