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Air Force Squadron Honoured

31 January 2005

The Air Force’s Rotary Wing squadron will be honoured this week, with a Priory Vote of Thanks from the Order of St John.

The members of No. 3 Squadron RNZAF will be presented with the award at 2pm on Thursday 3 February.

The Squadron, based at RNZAF Base Ohakea is being honoured for the work supporting the community; including search and rescues, civil defence, disaster relief and medical tasks.

In particular, the Squadron is being thanked for the rescues and support during last year’s Manawatu floods.

Media are welcome to attend the presentation


Media wishing to attend the presentation at RNZAF Base Ohakea should contact Danielle Coe, Defence Public Relations 04 496 0286 or 021 676 338


No. 3 Squadron Ohakea

The Order of St John is an independent part of the New Zealand Royal Honours System, with The Queen as Sovereign Head.

The Order has its own honours system, which includes the award of Priory Votes of Thanks to institutions, incorporated societies, business concerns and persons who have given conspicuous service to the Order of St John in its mission to care for the sick and the poor.

All awards made by the Order are made with the sanction of the Queen as Sovereign Head.

A Priory Vote of Thanks is an inscribed parchment awarded by the Priory Chapter - the Order’s national governance board in New Zealand. A maximum of forty Priory Votes of Thanks can be awarded each year. The first award in New Zealand was in 1910.

The citation for the award states:

Since January 2002 the Utility Flight (Iroquois) and the Training Flight (Sioux) of No 3 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) have been based at RNZAF Base Ohakea, in the Manawatu.

This has greatly increased the presence of RNZAF helicopters in the region; many of the tasks undertaken are directly related to supporting the ambulance and health services of that region and therefore meeting the same mission as that of the Order of St John.

For the year 2003 to 2004, Iroquois hours for tasks related to supporting the community (search and rescue, civil defence, disaster relief, medical tasks etc) were 161.7 hours, of which 46.6 hours were used in rescues and support associated with the devastating floods, which struck the region in February 2004. 

When civilian rescue helicopters have been unavailable, the Iroquois of No 3 Squadron RNZAF have often evacuated casualties from the Waiouru Health and Emergency Services Company to regional hospitals.

Presenting the award is Mrs Betty Simpson from the St John Central Region, who is a Commander of the Order and Member of the Order’s Priory Chapter.

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