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NZDF contingent returns home after supporting Solomon Islands during Pacific Games

A group of 89 New Zealand Defence Force personnel has returned to Aotearoa New Zealand after a successful deployment to the Solomon Islands, supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) during the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara.

14 December, 2023

Military and police personnel from Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand assisted the RSIPF in the lead up to and after the Pacific Games, which took place between 19 November and 2 December.

Members of the Royal New Zealand Navy, NZ Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force deployed to Solomon Islands as part of a joint Australian, New Zealand and Fijian Task Force to support RSIPF.

The NZDF provided a Rotary Wing Task Unit (RWTU) with two NH90 helicopters operated by RNZAF’s No. 3 Squadron to assist Solomon Islands.

The RWTU flew a total of 66 hours during 45 flights while on deployment and provided medical and logistic tasks for the RSIPF. They also conducted integration and logistic support to the USNS MERCY, a 1000 bed hospital ship, which was providing medical support to the Solomon Islands during the Games. Part of the integration provided an opportunity for pilot and crew flight-deck training, keeping them current for any Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations which may be needed during the Pacific tropical cyclone season.

After the Games ended, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare visited the local and international military and police contingents, thanking them for assisting the Solomon Islands in keeping “law and order and peace and national security intact” during the Games.

He also expressed appreciation on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government and people of Solomon Islands for the “tireless and dedicated support in providing outstanding security coverage for the Pacific Games.”

Athletes from across the Pacific, including an approximately 45-strong team from New Zealand, participated in 24 sports during the Pacific Games.  New Zealand came eighth overall, with a medal tally of 35 medals, including 10 Gold, 13 Silver and 13 Bronze.

Arial view of two grey military ships alongside each other at a port.

HMNZS Aotearoa resupplies HMAS Choules in the Solomon Islands.

By the numbers:

  • 89 NZDF personnel deployed to Solomon Islands
  • Two NH90 helicopters
  • 45 flights
  • 66 flying hours
  • 366 passengers transported
  • 5710kg of supplies moved
  • Four NZDF personnel are already deployed to Solomon Islands as part of the Solomon Islands International Assistance Force.
20231203adf8592025 0012 Grey helicopter hovers above the ground, tree and hills are visible in the background. NZDF personnel smile while eating a meal in a large mess tent.

Soloman Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare (left), NH90 helicopter in flight (centre), NZDF personnel dine in a mess tent (right).