22 August 2001
Speech to medal presentation ceremony, Christchurch
Hon Mark Burton
Your Worship the Mayor Gary Moore, Brigadier Jerry Mateparae, Honorary Colonel
and colleague Hon Doug Kidd, Captain McKillop, Colonel Martin Dransfield, family
members and friends...
To those members of the Territorial Force who are to receive the East Timor Medal today, let me say that I have seen for myself the tremendous job you have done in East Timor.
Integration into the regular force has been proven to be a success. There has also been the additional benefit that many of your civilian skills have been put to good use - vets, plumbers, carpenters, road planners, water resource managers and so on all have been put to good use.
As the Government announced in its recent Defence decisions, we see an enhanced and important future role for the Territorial Force within the New Zealand Defence Force. All of you who have returned from East Timor, can hold your heads high.
New Zealand knows that you have played a vital role in protecting the democratic rights of a people who have suffered so much in their struggle towards nationhood.
I trust that your sense of loss when it came time to be 'demobbed' was not too great, but I am sure that while you were in East Timor, you all made friends that will last the remainder of your lives.
I hope this parade, and awarding of medals, will give you a positive sense of closure.
We are also here today to recognise the service of members of the Royal New Zealand Navy Volunteer Reserve.
Lieutenant Commander Lana Knappen-Kerr has served in Bougainville - the first New Zealand Naval Reservist to serve ashore in a peacekeeping role. Tonight, she received the New Zealand General Service Medal Clasp Bougainville.
Also Commander Bryan Shankland and Lieutenant Commander Timothy Elley have received the Volunteer Reserve Decoration for 15 years service.
And we are also recognising the HMNZS Pegasus Employer of the Year, Alan Reay Consultants, who have fully supported staff member Paul Smith during his 7 years with the Volunteer Reserve.
The Christchurch City Council has also been awarded an Army employer's certificate for supporting Warrant Officer Sid Diamond who deployed on NZBATT2 last year.
For both the Territorial Force and the Naval Volunteer Reserve, employer co-operation and support is critical to ensuring the availability of personnel to the New Zealand Defence Force. Without their goodwill, the system would simply not work. For those civilian employers here tonight, thank you for allowing your people the time to volunteer to serve their country.
I would also like to express similar sentiments to the families of those who volunteer. You have to cope when your loved one is away attending training or on operational deployment. This sacrifice is not often acknowledged but I can assure you it is known and very much appreciated.
Finally I wish to acknowledge the extra effort of the personnel who train and prepare individuals for operational service. You fill in the gaps when they are absent and provide the basis of the units from which people can be drawn.
To all of you who serve in the Territorial Force, Naval Reserve or Regular Force, thank you for your service to New Zealand.
To all of you receiving awards today, the government and the people of New Zealand are immensely pleased, proud and grateful for the contribution you have made. I count it as a privilege to share this important occasion with you.
This page was last reviewed 29 September, 2011 and is current.