New Zealand's biggest military exercise underway

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Two thousand military personnel and hundreds of volunteers and community workers are assisting in New Zealand's biggest military exercise, Operation Southern Katipo involving eight countries from around the world.

Arriving in Napier is amphibious support ship HMAS Choules, with 300 ships company, six armoured vehicles and a water tanker.

"We've got a 100 hundred soldiers which are going in to support the exercise so to get them in and it's also the opportunity to land some vehicles for those soldiers and also we can move large amounts of people equipment, food supplies, so that's very much our role," says Commander Dave Graham.

The ship will make it's way down to Picton to take part in a fictitious scenario of political unrest that requires military intervention.

"To practice in this type of environment allows us to try some things we might not have tried before it's a great environment for testing out new ideas."

"It's really important for us to be a part of that and to contribute because we bring so much capability to this and it builds those relationships across the Tasman, you know, standing shoulder to shoulder with our Kiwi mates on this exercise," explains Graham.

The exercise happens every two years and runs until the 27th of November.