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Chairman’s Message to 2018 AGM

Minutes AGM 2018

Air Force News

A No. 5 Squadron crew on a P-3K2 Orion found two fishermen adrift on a boat in the Pacific, four days after they were reported missing in Kiribati. Acting Air Component Commander Group Captain (GPCAPT) Daniel Hunt said crew on the surveillance aircraft spotted the men on a five-metre fishing boat on their second day of searching for them. They contacted two ships in the area and asked them to pick up the men. “After refuelling in Tarawa, the Orion returned to the area to help facilitate the rescue,” GPCAPT Hunt said.
The two men were rescued and recovered. The Orion was sent to join the search after a request from the Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre (FMSRCC), which is responsible for the search area. The FMSRCC said the two men – aged 32 and 42 – were last seen leaving on a fishing boat from Kuria, a pair of reef islands in Kiribati’s Central Gilbert Islands. NZDF support was requested after a search by local aircraft and a patrol boat had no success. The search area was about 2,000 kilometres north of Fiji. 

Joint Forces New Zealand Commander Major General Tim Gall said offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Otago and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft supported the maritime surveillance operation with the three other member-countries of the Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group (QUAD) – Australia, France and the United States. In this year’s operation, fishing vessels were inspected on the seas surrounding New Zealand’s northern Exclusive Economic Zone boundaries. “The four countries working together on this monitoring, control and surveillance operation reflect the regional solidarity to sustainable high-seas fishing,” Major General Gall said. Flight Lieutenant John Brereton said the Orion crew patrolled the high seas pocket to the west of the Kermadec Islands. “We had a New Zealand Fisheries Officer on board, and she was able to provide valuable intelligence about the vessels that were of particular interest to the Op Nasse fisheries agencies.” Over two days the crew gathered information on all vessels of interest in the area, as well as locating a few vessels that the fisheries agencies had little information about, he said. “All of the intelligence we obtained was then fed back to the relevant fisheries agencies, as well as to HMNZS Otago – 
NZdF inspects 23 Vessels in multi-National patrols
who conducted boarding operations to verify the vessels’ compliance with fisheries regulations.” Lieutenant Commander Lorna Gray, the Commanding Officer of Otago, said the vessels were inspected by an inter-agency team that included authorised inspectors from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries and the United States Coast Guard. MPI Manager for Fisheries Compliance Greg Keys said the key objective of the operation was to better understand fishing practices and ensure compliance with the Convention on the Conservation and Management of the Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and the conservation and management measures adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Lieutenant Commander Gray said the involvement of an authorised inspector from the United States maximised the use of WCPFC-trained inspectors and enhanced the effectiveness of the WCPFC boarding and inspection procedures, so it was a big boost to have a United States Coast Guard authorised inspector who could speak five languages on board. “This year’s operation was an opportunity to further develop information sharing and provide a coordinated approach to high-seas boarding and inspections with our QUAD partners,” she said.

The Air Force works with other New Zealand agencies to secure the country against external threats and is called upon regularly to respond to emergencies both at home and overseas. But in what may seem off the beaten track, the Air Force recently carried out a census of southern right whales or tohora in the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands. Air Component Commander Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Tim Walshe said more than 100 whales were sighted during a surveillance patrol by a P-3K2 Orion aircraft around the Auckland Islands and Campbell Island. “We regularly support other government agencies in their work by providing our aircraft and ships as platforms for monitoring and surveillance activities,” AIRCDRE Walshe said. “In this Orion patrol, we took aerial photos to assist the Department of Conservation (DOC) in tracking individual whales, building a better picture of the species as a whole and monitoring the recovery of these protected creatures.” DOC Marine Species and Threats manager Ian Angus said the census results indicated that the southern right whale population, which is classified as “nationally vulnerable” species, was continuing to recover from the significant impact of whaling and other present-day threats. Whaling decimated the southern right whale population, from more than 30,000 at the turn of the 20th century to less than 150 around 1920, according to DOC. 
Recent research estimates their number at 2000 in 2009. “We’ve always known that the southern right whales spend the winter and spring around the Sub-Antarctic Islands but getting down there at this time of the year is challenging,” Mr Angus said. “In partnership with the NZDF, we have been able to monitor some of our wildlife and continue to understand when and how southern right whales are using the Sub-Antarctic Islands.”
He said the census conducted by the Air Force complemented the work carried out by the University of Otago on the movement patterns of southern right whales. “We’re looking forward to working with the NZDF and other researchers to glean all the information from the many images that were taken.” Tohora are a native migrant to New Zealand. They are typically black in colour but can have irregular white patches, and have large and paddle-shaped flippers. 

5 Squadron RNZAF Trophy presentation to Cpl Alex McLean at the 20th AGM June 2018.


 Photos of the Laucala Bay Monument Event 2018


Laucala Bay Monument

Note the symbolism that the artist, Shane Bower from Savusavu, has created with the wings of a giant seabird (albatross) mounted above the representative fuselage - the lower half of which is a Sunderland wing float. more



Space Age Hazard 

Middle East Surveillence



RNZAF Orion and Crew Busy on Multiple Fronts in South West Pacific

The Orion has been sent to deliver mail to Raoul Island, survey signs of activity from an underwater volcano, and conduct maritime surveillance patrols in support of Pacific Island nations. The crew will also brief officials in Niue about the NZDF’s maritime surveillance and search and rescue operations in the region.

“This is a perfect example of the range of tasks we do in support of other New Zealand government agencies, as well as our South West Pacific neighbours,” Group Captain Shaun Sexton, the Acting Air Component Commander, said.

“The other driver, of course, is efficiency. Whenever we send an aircraft to do a job, it usually has three to four other tasks to complete. That way we get a lot more done from a single mission.”

Squadron Leader Jimmy Peters, the aircraft captain, said the first item on the Orion’s to-do list was to air-drop about 130 kilograms of mail for Department of Conservation staff based in the remote Kermadec Islands.

The aircraft will also survey Monowai, an active underwater volcano halfway between Tonga and the Kermadecs, for GNS Science.

On Friday (NZT), a 17-member team led by Squadron Leader Peters will brief officials from several Niue government agencies, including the Niue Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Niue Police, about the NZDF’s maritime surveillance and search and rescue capabilities. They will also give Niue officials a quick tour of the Orion.

Squadron Leader Peters said he expected “mutually beneficial discussions” with Niue officials following the briefing.

“It’s good to have these face-to-face engagements where we can chat about how we conduct search and rescue and maritime patrols and also gain an understanding of their expectations,” he said.

“This is essential, so we can wrk together smoothly if and when required in the future.”

The NZDF regularly sends aircraft and ships to conduct maritime surveillance patrols in support of South West Pacific countries. In 2017, RNZAF planes flew 114 hours on nine search and rescue missions in the Pacific.



75th Anniversary 1941-2016

MOTAT and Whenuapai events photo collection



A Blast From the Past

Here is a series of links kindly provided by Robin Klitscher. These links are pieces written
by Robin K which will be of interest to members, particularly the web-footers.

Recently digitised footage of Laucala bay

Sunderland Veterans Rolling Back The years

Facebook Slideshow  

With thanks from Wings Over New Zealand

5 Squadron RNZAF Association Trophy Recipients

The award includes a printed copy of the citation and an inscribed plaque to be retained by the recipient. 


Firming up the power of partners

Bersama Lima demonstrated the strength of the longest-standing arrangement in the region, CAPT Roger Brennan writes


An E-7A Wedgetail on the tarmac in front of a Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules. Photo: CPL Matthew Bickerton

THE Five Power Defence Ar rangement ’s Exercise Bersama Lima 2018 proved the relationship is stronger than ever, according to Australian Contingent Commander GPCAPT Nicholas Pratt.

The multilateral combined joint task force exercise, from October 1-19, included defence personnel from the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia.

Established in 1971, the Five Power Defence Arrangement is the longest-standing in the region and Exercise Bersama Lima allowed member nations to put their air, land and sea interoperability on show.

GPCAPT Pratt said the exercise tested the member nations across a wide range of security activities.


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