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NZ Army reconnects with warrior culture in major milestone exercise

More than 1,000 soldiers descended on Manawatū for the New Zealand Army’s largest single exercise in more than two-and-a-half years – a deliberate move to reconnect with its core business.

29 November, 2022

Exercise Torokiki, held at Linton Military Camp and the Raumai Range last week, was designed to be a major milestone which would set the conditions for regenerating the NZ Army following Operation Protect and support to the largest domestic operation in living memory as part of the All-of-Government response to Covid-19.

It was the first time this generation of soldiers had taken a deliberate pause to reconnect with the culture of Ngāti Tūmatauenga, or Tribe of the God of War, said Land Component Commander, Colonel Duncan Roy.

The exercise reconnected personnel with the core combat skills.

“While these skills are basic, they are the foundation of what it is to be a soldier in the New Zealand Army. Training of this type is part of our core business as soldiers and the skills gained allows us, as an Army, to be able to build into more complex challenging war fighting,” he said. 

Over the week, activities tested soldiers’ mental and physical endurance as they applied their key military skills such as teamwork, weapon handling, giving and following orders and medical care.

“These skillsets are applicable to all ranks and trades, regardless of experience or ability,” Colonel Roy said.

Soldiers of all ranks from the combat, logistics, medical, intelligence, dental, engineers and signals corps took part in Exercise Torokiki.

Simulation training was also a key part of the exercise, such as using electronic blanks to train more efficiently.

Commander Training and Doctrine, Colonel Trevor Walker said simulation systems were designed to enhance training and provide a combat-orientated introduction to modernised learning.

“Technology Enhanced Learning is a key part of contemporary learning methods, and new training and technology will help the Army move into the future. We are in a unique position within the Army to expose our soldiers to safe and realistic training using this technology, and give them an appreciation of future training concepts,” Colonel Walker said.

Colonel Roy said the past two years had been tough on all aspects of the NZ Army.

“Our journey to regeneration will not be about re-creating the Army that existed before the pandemic, it is about having an Army that is better trained and prepared to meet complex security challenges in an increasingly competitive and contested global environment,” he said.

Exercise Torokiki was the first deliberate milestone activity in the New Zealand Army’s regeneration journey, which will be carried out over the next five years.

Photos from Exercise Torokiki 2022 can be found here: