Exercise Northern Kiwi 08
11 March 2008
Close to 600 people, including 119 Australians from 6 Platoon 9RQR, took part in Exercise Northern Kiwi 08 in Waiouru in February.
Lieutenant Colonel Warren Banks from Tauranga was in charge of the exercise and said everything was run successfully and there were no problems.
The platoons taking part were 3 ANR, 3 HAU, 7 WHB, 5 WWCT, 2 HSB, 2 SIGS, 2 LOG, 2 FDSQ, 2 LFG, TTS and Kapyong Btn.
“My Territorial Force HQ planned the exercise over the last eight to nine months and controlled it. Over 55 percent of my soldiers were training this week. There were four TF platoons, plus there were TF members in other units.”
LTCOL Banks said the Territorial Force provided soldiers to Operation Rata in the Solomons so their training and testing was shaped around the components they would need to operate there.
“There is a reasonable chance they will go on our fourth rotation; some have already been.”
Exercise Northern Kiwi 08 involved a number of different activities, including a march in, bull ring, a number of stations, and battle preparation, with the soldiers organised into their platoons. There were presentations from those going on Rata and Crib, and the SAS demonstrated their skills.
On the first night the platoons went to their different stands, ready for a 7am start the following day. The stands involved the following scenarios – an urban clearance with a village where the soldiers had to clear buildings; a platoon attack; a vehicle checkpoint; security/protection of an installation; and a civil disturbance where there was a theft and the soldiers went to support the residents.
“Then the residents tried to get the baddies out of prison and they had to protect the bad guys from the residents. They didn’t speak any English, they used a mixture of Polynesian and Maori and made-up words,” said LTCOL Banks.
“There was also an ambush and an observation post, and a two-vehicle accident where two Land Rovers crashed into each other, so we were testing their first aid skills, and a RF medic did the assessments. They were given two hours to deploy their stands and then end the exercise. They then had two hours to get to the next one. By the time the exercise ended they had walked about 50kms.”
LTCOL Banks said the exercise also provided training and testing for the logistical corps, who did all the catering and driving.
On the final day the soldiers had a march and shoot, where they walked out and back and went through the confidence course before the range.
As MD of Bulk Storage Terminals in Tauranga, LTCOL Banks often talks to employers about the benefits of employing territorial force soldiers.
“I point out that they are New Zealand citizens, they are conviction-free, they are pre-tested to a certain IQ level, and they receive disciplined training – they’re comfortable being uncomfortable. All we ask is that you release them for field exercises and training. We put them through things like dangerous goods handling and train them for different vehicle licences. They will do a handover when they go away on exercises. They will be polite, they will be reliable, and they will be back after their exercises.”
LTCOL Banks even took home a souvenir from Waiouru – courtesy of one of his soldiers.
“One guy came and asked for Henry back and Henry was a large rock he’d put in my pack! I’m going to keep it and put it in my office.”