International Security Force

Dili Travel Blog

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President Ramos Horta watches the Maori team prepare for the entry of the main NZ group

As well as NZ Police here in Timor Leste we have NZ Army personnel.

The ranks
  They are here for 6 months, the same as we police but they obviously work with the F-FDTL (TL Army).  There are only two contries that contribute to the International Security Force, NZ and Australia so we have a pretty special relationship with the country.

 

This week saw the end of a six month period for the group of NZ soldiers here at present.  These are the men and women that arrived a few weeks before I myself got in mission so it seems that it should be the next step to my own departure except that I am staying on another 6 months.

 

The ISF are not employed by the UN as police are.  They are here at the request of the Timor Government and were here as the first troops that landed to help out in the heat of the 1999 troubles so are held in special regard by the govt.

 

So it was we all gathered at the Presidential Palace to enjoy the ceremony where the current NZ ISF group were awarded their Solidarity medal for their service to Timor Leste.

 

We gathered at 5pm and the 150 strong group were standing quietly in the sun as the guests, NZ UNPol included, were sitting nicely in the shade of the palace entrance.

President presents medals
  The ranks marched out to the front of the dias after the traditional Maori approach was made.  In the background stood a line of Presidential guardsmen  resplendant in their traditional garb, complete with feathers and monkey hair.

 

Speeches were made, medals were presented and a haka was performed.  It was a moving moment for we kiwis.  I have have seen many haka performed but never from the vantage point where I was able to enjoy first class seats in front of 150 of NZ's finest warriors.  I almost felt a little embarrassed by our own efforts but kept reminding myself there is no comparrison between a group of 25 and 150.

 

At the conclusion they fell back into ranks, snapped to attention and were dismissed.  It was a great ceremony and since one of our NZ TV crews were here to film it I hoped the folks back home would appreciate why we were all over here and felt it worthwhile.

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President Ramos Horta watches the …
President Ramos Horta watches the…
The ranks
The ranks
President presents medals
President presents medals
Timorese Presidential guard plumage
Timorese Presidential guard plumage
Soldiers from two nations
Soldiers from two nations
Dili
photo by: jose28