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Unclassified: Season Two

Every day, members of the New Zealand Defence Force achieve extraordinary things.

In this season of Unclassified, we’re bringing you unforgettable first-hand tales of courage and commitment from members of the Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force.

This six-part series will include previously unheard stories from around the globe, including daring rescues at sea and on the ice, the chaos of evacuating New Zealanders from Kabul as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, the aftermath of the White Island eruption, and the reality of coming under a barrage of rocket attacks in Iraq.

S2 E7 - Bonus | Outgoing Chief of Defence Force – Air Marshal Kevin Short

In this special episode of Unclassified, we talk to the outgoing Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Kevin Short, about his almost 50 years in service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He reflects on how a self-confessed mischief maker rose through the ranks to the top job, some of the tough calls he’s had to make including the impact of the global pandemic on the NZDF, the changing geostrategic environment, and more.

S2 E6 | Responding to the deadly Whakaari / White Island eruption - CDR Tim Hall

In this episode we talk to Royal New Zealand Navy Commander Tim Hall about his involvement in the response to the deadly volcanic eruption of Whakaari / White Island in 2019.

S2 E5 | Antarctica to the Middle East and responses at home - F/S Dave Cresswell

In this episode we talk to Flight Sergeant Dave Cresswell from the Royal New Zealand Air Force about deployments around the world, from Antarctica to the Middle East, and emergency responses following the Pike River disaster and Christchurch earthquakes.

S2 E4 | Cyclone Gabrielle NH90 helicopter rescues - FLTLT Nicole Brooke

In this episode we talk to Flight Lieutenant Nicole Brooke about her experience of navigating precarious search and rescue operations from the cockpit of a Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter, including in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle.

S2 E3 | Taji Rocket Attack - LTCOL Iain Hill

In this episode we talk to Lieutenant Colonel Iain Hill, from the New Zealand Army, about what it’s like to be at a military base in the Middle East as it comes under a rocket attack, the role leadership plays in deployments, and the one sound he will never forget from his time in Iraq.

S2 E2 | Rescue at sea during Cyclone Gabrielle - CPO Leon Reilly

In this episode we talk to Chief Petty Officer Leon Reilly, from the Royal New Zealand Navy, about his experience of leading a crew through a hair-raising rescue at sea in the midst of a tropical cyclone.

S2 E1 | Kabul evacuation - NZ Special Forces’ - Female Engagement Team member

In this episode we talk to a member of the Female Engagement Team, an element of New Zealand’s Special Forces, about what it was like to be in the thick of the August 2021 evacuations from Kabul Airport, in Afghanistan.

Unclassified: Season One

For more than 20 years, the New Zealand Defence Force worked alongside partners in Afghanistan, making a significant contribution to regional security and the lives of the local people.

More than 3,500 Kiwi personnel served there, including 10 soldiers who tragically lost their lives.

This year marks a decade since the withdrawal of New Zealand’s provincial reconstruction team, so we’re bringing you tales of service and sacrifice from those with first-hand experience of life at the front-line.

This six-part series hosted by Defence Public Affairs includes previously unheard stories about the heat of battle, the role of the SAS, keeping the faith in times of tragedy, and the lasting impacts of this deployment on those who served and their loved ones at home.

S1 E1 | Major General John Boswell

In this episode we talk to Chief of Army, Major General John Boswell, about the overall contribution of the New Zealand Army to Afghanistan, the impact of losing a soldier on operations, and leadership in a crisis.

S1 E2 | Major Caleb Berry

In this episode we talk to Major Caleb Berry about his experience as a junior commander forced to step up in New Zealand’s deadliest infantry battle since Vietnam, and how that has shaped his life ever since.

S1 E3 | Chaplain Class Two James Molony

In this episode we talk to Chaplain Class Two James Molony about the ongoing effects he’s seen over the last decade amongst those who deployed to Afghanistan, how a person’s faith is tested in a war zone, and the role of Chaplaincy in Defence.

S1 E4 | Colonel Sean Bolton

In this episode we talk to Colonel Sean Bolton about the role of New Zealand’s Special Forces in Afghanistan, critical decision making and what it takes to be a member of the SAS.

S1 E5 | Major David Foote

In this episode we talk to Major David Foote about his experience as a nurse in a war zone, trying to tend to the wounded in the heat of battle, and the role Combat Lifesaver training played in assisting wounded soldiers during a deadly firefight.

S1 E6 | Staff Sergeant Tina Grant

In this episode we talk to Staff Sergeant Tina Grant about losing a loved one on the frontline, the impact of that loss on whānau back home, and her efforts to ensure greater support is available for families of the fallen.