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14 March 2002

INTERFET medals presented to NZDF personnel

Hon Mark Burton

Today's presentation of INTERFET medals reflects the ANZAC spirit and the special nature of the Australia-New Zealand defence relationship, Defence Minister Mark Burton said.

At Parliament today, Australian Army Chief, Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove presented six NZDF personnel with their International Force East Timor (INTERFET) Medals.

The medal was initiated by Australia, with eligibility extended to other participating nations. The New Zealand government announced last month that NZDF personnel would be eligible to receive it.

Lt Gen Cosgrove was commander of the multi-national force established in September 1999 to restore peace and security to East Timor. New Zealand contributed naval, ground and air elements to INTERFET, which became a United Nations-led mission, UNTAET, in February 2000.

Approximately 900 New Zealand Defence Force personnel who served with INTERFET will be eligible to accept and wear the award.

Today’s recipients included:

  • Major General Martyn Dunne, NZ Army, who was the National Senior Officer and Commander in the Dili region;
  • Corporal Sean Erickson, RNZAF, who worked as a Aircraft Technician in Dili and Suai;
  • Flight Lieutenant Quintin Meads, RNZAF, who operated Iroquois in both Dili and Suai;
  • Chief Petty Officer Howie Rait, RNZN, who was the Chief Electrician onboard HMNZS Canterbury;
  • Sapper Carl Crawford, NZ Army, who worked as a Field Engineer based in Suai; and
  • Able Communications Operator Jodie-Anne Rider, RNZN who deployed onboard HMNZS Endeavour as a Communications Operator.

"Acceptance of the INTERFET Medal is recognition of New Zealand’s significant contribution to the Australian-led international peacekeeping force that was critical to the stabilisation if the situation in East Timor," Mark Burton said.

“It also recognises the service of individual New Zealand members of INTERFET in what was a risky and difficult environment.”

The obverse of the INTERFET Medal bears an outlined map of East Timor, over layered with an outlined figure of the dove of peace with an olive branch, surrounded by the words ‘International Force East Timor’. The reverse bears a central circular panel, surrounded by the words ‘Together As One For Peace In East Timor’.

The ribbon has a central red stripe, flanked by two green stripes, which are in turn flanked by two white stripes, which are further flanked by two outer blue stripes.

The medals arrived in New Zealand last week and they will be engraved with recipients’ names before being awarded.

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