NZ Chief of Navy visits Tonga

New Zealand Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin, is in Tonga this week for a bilateral visit.

While in Tonga, he will be meeting with Their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u, Brigadier Fielakepa, Chief of Defence Staff of His Majesty’s Armed Forces, Minister of Defence Lord Ma’afu, and senior officers of His Majesty’s Armed Forces.  He will also tour Masefield Navy base and Taliai Army camp.

“Tonga is one of New Zealand’s longest and closest defence relationships, dating back to the First World War, and it is great to be able to visit and discuss the ongoing relationship with His Majesty King Tupou VI, Brigadier Fielakepa and their staff,” Rear Admiral Martin said.  “Our Forces have served alongside each other in peace time and at war.  In fact, our two Forces are serving alongside each other right now in Ha’apai for Exercise Tropic Twilight.”

Chief of Defence Staff of His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF), Brigadier Fielakepa, said “the New Zealand Defence Force relationship with HMAF is the oldest defence relationship between Tonga and another country. We remember the sacrifice by New Zealand Defence Force members alongside our own.  Masefield Naval Base is named after Lieutenant Masefield of the New Zealand Defence Force who commanded the 1st Tongan Commando in the Solomon Islands. Taliai Camp is named after Lt Taliai of the same 1st Tongan Commando.  Both officers were killed in action in the Solomon Campaign during WWII.”

NZ Chief
New Zealand Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin

“Last week, the New Zealand Defence Force deployed alongside HMAF and other defence partners to Ha’apai for Exercise Tropic Twilight. This is a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise providing medical personnel and assistance to the civil communities.  Tropic Twilight is not only benefitting HMAF with experiences working alongside our defence partners but also the people of Ha’apai who will benefit from the professional services provided by our defence partners.”

The New Zealand Chief of Navy’s visit is part of a busy schedule of defence activities in Tonga this year.  The New Zealand Chief of Army visited in March and met with Brigadier Fielakepa and Minister of Defence Lord Ma’afu.  In addition to Exercise Tropic Twilight which is involving defence forces from Tonga, the United States, China and France, HMNZS Otago is in Nuku’alofa this week for a port visit.

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