Royal New Zealand Air Force | Air Force News - Issue 229, October 2020

Page 1

Eyeing the Drop Zone

King Air Rescue Success

P-8A Crew First to Graduate

#2 2 9


Operation Protect NZ

Contents 04

Eyeing the Drop Zone


Operation Protect New Zealand





P-8A Graduating Crew

First Word



Op Respect




Kiwi Roundel Golden Anniversary

Our heritage



Looking Down from the Stars


33 34 Photo of the month

Obituary – WGCDR Danny Lazet


Right Time, Right Place for King Air SAR


South Pacific Tuna Fisheries Operation


Deployed during a Pandemic

OUR MISSION The RNZAF will provide New Zealand with relevant, responsive and effective Air Power to meet its security interests.



An agile and adaptive Air Force with the versatility essential for NZDF operations.

Protecting our People COVER: Operation Protect New Zealand PHOTOGRAPHER: CPL Dillon Anderson

Published by Defence Public Affairs HQ NZ Defence Force Wellington, New Zealand Editor Rebecca Quilliam Email: Design and Layout Defence Public Affairs Printed by Bluestar Private Bag 39996, Wellington Distribution Email: Editorial contributions and ideas are welcomed. They can be emailed directly to the Editor and do not need to be forwarded through normal command chains. Contributions need to include • writer’s name, rank and unit • photos provided separate from the text – at least 300dpi. Air Force News will hold the copyright for submitted articles or photographs it publishes. Articles and photographs published in Air Force News cannot be published elsewhere without permission. ISSN 1175–2327



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WINNER Voyager Media Awards Winner for the Best trade/specialist publication, free magazine and/ or website


First Word K

a pai: great job Team Blue – keep on keeping on! Aka: The Power of Appreciation.

Imagine… you’ve been given a free pass to the Koru lounge. There you are at Auckland International Airport, packed in to the lounge, full of holidaymakers like yourself waiting to head over to the Sunshine Coast… Not a mask in sight. People gathered around the buffet as though it were a feeding trough, breathing over all the options and touching two or three items before deciding on the one they will take. Others are crowded around the fridge to get their hands on the bottle of wine that has already been handled by six total strangers…. No hand sanitiser in sight. Those were the days. It seems so long ago, right? B Y


“We in blue have always understood that flexibility is the key to air power, and the RNZAF’s track record for adaptability and having a ‘can do’ attitude has been proven again in 2020: well done whānau!”

People who don’t like change haven’t had too many options lately. I wonder how it’s been for you? Some have really struggled with lockdown and the stress of isolation or of needing to create office spaces in an already full house. Others have quietly thrived, and loved every minute of the autonomy and freedom and time-athome that the new regime offers. What about a new scale for Hogan’s or Myers Briggs? Would you score high or low on ‘Thriving in Lockdown’? Wherever you sit on this new spectrum, you’ve been required to display a high degree of flexibility since March this year.

We in blue have always understood that flexibility is the key to air power, and the RNZAF’s track record for adaptability and having a ‘can do’ attitude has been proven again in 2020: well done whānau! But how do we sustain that flexibility when we know that change is stressful and that over time, it increasingly takes its toll? Add to that the deaths of several of our Air Force family in August and September, and it’s important that we recognise the pressure being experienced by many members of our organisation. In the spirit of keeping it simple, I want to suggest two things that cost us nothing, and can be given (and received) by every one of us. They are affirmation and encouragement. I believe those things fuel our ability to remain flexible and resilient. Whether you’re in a leadership position and can affirm those reporting to you more often – or whether you would rather focus on being a positive influence at a collegial level amongst your peers – we can all contribute to filling the tanks of affirmation and encouragement. And it doesn’t stop at work. Whether your home is in barracks, a flat, or a family house, those you share a home with need encouragement too. It might simply be a word of gratitude that goes a long way. Share some positivity because this is a time when being contagious is a good thing! So how about it? The response of the RNZAF this year has been awesome. Let’s back each other to keep it up, and let’s contribute to that by seizing every opportunity to affirm and encourage. We’ve got this whānau!

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Eyeing the Drop Zone B Y


Keeping a keen eye on the target, No. 40 Squadron crews have been gaining qualifications in dropping loads out of a C-130 Hercules – a skill vital when natural disasters strike and the local population is in need of aid.

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E X E R C I S E S  |

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Delivering a loaded pallet onto a C-130 MIDDLE

Tactical flying during the exercise RIGHT

An air loadmaster watching after loads have been released FAR RIGHT

Loads dropped from a C-130


he training has focussed on ensuring air warfare officers, engineers, air loadmasters and pilots are qualified in tactical flying and dropping platforms of all sizes accurately onto a drop zone. “The exercise is going really well. We have achieved our training objectives for personnel including dropping heavy equipment,” air warfare officer Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Izak Pivac said. “Our pilots have achieved formation flying qualifications as well.” The training was vital for real life Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief situations where the Air Force would air drop equipment into places that needed it, he said.

The skills were used after the Kaikoura earthquake when C-130 crews dropped about 5,000 litres of water to the residents. Dropping heavy equipment accurately involved a number of calculations that needed to be made by the air warfare officers, SQNLDR Pivac said. “We calculate the release point based on wind, air speed, temperature, the weight of the equipment, the type of parachutes used, the number of parachutes and the position of where the load is sitting in the aircraft. Those parameters will then define what altitude and speed the aircraft needs to be flying.” “All the drops have landed between 50m to 100m away from the target.” The exercise also gave the pilots an opportunity to practice tactical flying, with low-level flying as low as 250 feet.

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E X E R C I S E S  |

Working alongside the Air Force was the NZ Army’s 5th Movements company, which built the platforms that were being dropped from the aircraft. “It’s really handy to work with the Army. They came out to Ohakea to build the platforms we dropped. They identify different types of stores to build loads, developing the correct energy dissipating material package to withstand the rigors of an airdrop and then rigging them into different types of loads. “This week we had a focus on heavy equipment platforms ranging from 8–16 feet in length,” SQNLDR Pivac said. “We also work with the Air Movements personnel at Ohakea who loaded the aircraft. So we’re working with a few different units to achieve our training. “It’s good training for them to be given exposure to the C-130.”

By the end of the exercise air loadmaster Sergeant (SGT) Toby Priestley will have completed all his tactical qualifications. The final qualification he needed was to work with heavy loads, he said. “The heavy equipment ranges from 2,520 pounds (1,143kg) up to 42,000 pounds (19,050kg).” The loadmasters have to rig a different system with extraction parachutes for those large platforms, SGT Priestley said. “The system can be used to drop items like vehicles or large amounts of water in barrels, or as a way to drop a number of items at once,” he said. “The exercise has gone well. We’ve had four days of flying and all the drops completed and on the drop zone.”

“Air dropping the heavier loads requires a more complex system compared to the other air drop types the C-130 can do. There are a lot of working parts that the loadmaster needs to check to achieve the air drop.” – Sergeant Toby Priestley

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|  O P E R AT I O N S

Air Force bringing people home The Air Force has assisted with a further repatriation flight of Vanuatu nationals from New Zealand.


he Government of Vanuatu requested assistance from New Zealand to get their citizens home, due to the ongoing unavailability of commercial flights as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Passengers included more than 100 Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers and scholarship students stranded in New Zealand since March. The flight was also used to return the remains of Vanuatu’s late High Commissioner to New Zealand, Johnson Naviti. Members of Mr Naviti’s family were also on the flight. The 119 passengers on board No. 40 Squadron’s Boeing 757 were subject to health pre-screening measures before boarding in New Zealand and were required to follow Vanuatu’s entry protocols, including 14 days of managed quarantine. Air Force air crews routinely undertake measures to prevent any potential spread of Covid-19, including health screening, physical distancing and wearing of personal protective equipment.

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“We’re pleased we’ve been able to assist with returning Vanuatu nationals to their loved ones back home,” Air Component Commander Air Commodore Tim Walshe said. “The global Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted normal travel routes, including seasonal workers from Vanuatu, many of whom would ordinarily have returned home by now.” The flight followed eight repatriation flights in June when more than 1,000 Vanuatu nationals were taken home after their travel plans were disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions. Eight passengers boarded the aircraft at Base Auckland, with the majority boarding at Base Ohakea and the Air Movements terminal at Christchurch International Airport.

O P E R A T I O N S  |

Right Time, Right Place for King Air SAR B Y


Pilot Officer Olivia Landau was doing some Search and Rescue training in a King Air 350 off the Bay of Plenty coast recently when a real life scenario unfolded in front of her. “I knew from the moment I joined the Air Force that I wanted to contribute to something bigger than myself. It’s always been search and rescue for me.” - Pilot Officer Olivia Landau


It took only about 10 minutes for the aircraft to reach the area, PLTOFF Landau said.

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ had also tasked two rescue helicopters and a Coastguard New Zealand vessel to the area. The TECT Rescue Helicopter identified the raft location after the survivors set off a flare, and the King Air maintained over-watch until Coastguard Auckland arrived to rescue the pair.

“It was impressive to watch his mental map keeping track of what was going on and the entities he was talking with and his coordination for the crew.

he King Air crew played a key role alongside rescue organisations during the mission, responding to an emergency beacon set off by a brother and sister, who were left floating in a life raft after their 29 foot launch sank.

Pilot Officer (PLTOFF) Landau said the King Air had not gone far into its flight, when her instructor received the mayday call. The trainee air warfare officer at first thought it was all part of the Search and Rescue scenario training, but quickly realised it was a real life situation. “Initially we received half of the position from the Mayday relay, and then the full information was passed from Maritime NZ and we started tracking towards it to see what was going on and to see if we could offer assistance.”

Her instructor kept up communications with Maritime New Zealand, TECT Rescue Helicopter, the Coastguard vessel and the aircraft’s captain and co-pilot.

“The biggest contribution we made was to give updated locations of the life raft as it was drifting.” The mission highlighted just how busy a real search mission could be, PLTOFF Landau said. “In the simulator there are usually about three different entities that we talk with, but in reality there were about five and it was much busier. For me it showed exactly how busy a Search and Rescue was, right up until the people are on the safe vessel.”

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Air Force Key Player in South Pacific Tuna Fishing Operation

New Zealand has taken an active role in a recent international fisheries surveillance operation to ensure the tuna fishing fleet in the South Pacific Ocean is following fishery laws during Covid-19 when ports are closed.


he operation included backing from Australia, France and the United States.

The air and sea missions were coordinated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in conjunction with the New Zealand Defence Force, the Australian Fisheries Management Agency, along with New Caledonian Armed Forces, and the US Coast Guard. Fishing vessels were not boarded because of safety reasons due to the Covid-19 threat. They were instead observed remotely with visual surveillance data analysed and provided to relevant authorities. Its key objective was to identify tuna fishers not complying with the agreement of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and its legally binding rules.


P-3K2 Orion RIGHT

Imagery of fishing vessels in the area is captured during maritime surveillance patrols

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O P E R A T I O N S  |

It also investigated how fishing companies managed their operation, such as landing their catch when ports are closed because of Covid-19. Other aspects included ensuring that tuna fishers were utilising the correct equipment to protect sea birds and that they were reporting their maritime positions through the official satellite monitoring system. MPI Director of Compliance, Gary Orr says the operation proved our monitoring capabilities are as strong as they were before the Covid-19 crisis began. “We had Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion flights based out of Auckland, Australian Maritime Border Command Dash 8s based out of Brisbane, French Guardians from Noumea and USCG C-130 aircraft flying out of Fiji. We were able to penetrate a huge area and gather valuable intelligence, which will be followed up.

“The ongoing Covid-19 threat meant we did not board and inspect fishing vessels at sea. But our shared technology gave our people the ability to closely view certain aspects of tuna fishing operations from a virtual environment,” Mr Orr said. The operation involved aircraft and vessels from all countries involved, providing significant vision from the sky and sea. NZDF’s Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said that by working with Pacific neighbours and partner organisations, a large area of ocean could be covered during maritime surveillance patrols. “Our personnel are highly skilled in this work. The information they gather on vessels of interest is passed on to all the relevant authorities. Together we’re helping protect a natural resource from exploitation and the livelihoods of Pacific neighbours who rely on a regulated and sustainable fishery for income.”

The operation was the first time the US Coast Guard had sent a vessel to participate alongside Australia, New Zealand, and France. Mr Orr said to be able to lead and work with our international partners on an operation with a shared interest helped ensure the valuable tuna fishery was not being illegally fished. “It shows our capabilities are second to none and should also send a strong message – that we have the ability to uphold fisheries laws to the highest level even during a pandemic.” In the Western Central Pacific, annual tuna catch is estimated at over US$5 billion. This provides a huge amount of income to many Pacific Island nations, and with a downturn in tourism earning because of Covid-19, it is even more important that the resource is protected from illegal fishing.

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About 1,200 personnel around the country have been deployed in support of the Government’s Covid-19 response. The role is to protect our borders, help with road check points and man response headquarters. It’s the largest military contingent deployment since Timor-Leste.

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F E AT U R E     |

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WORKING IN ISOLATION The largest deployment in Op Protect are the personnel working in Managed Isolation Quarantine Facilities (MIQFs) at designated hotels located around the country.


hile each hotel works slightly differently, our personnel provide facilities management and administrative support that allows key government agencies to focus on their roles in managing the safe return of New Zealanders from overseas. Each facility has a military manager, coordinator and two assistants. They work alongside nurses, security staff, police and hotel staff. The personnel ensure smooth arrivals into the accommodation, departures and sometimes transfers to specialised facilities if a returnee is showing symptoms of Covid-19.

The whole experience resonated with SQNLDR Singh, who said it was the best deployment he had been sent on. “I’m not going to war, I’m never going to be in a position to be in that situation. For me to help the country, this is the best opportunity possible, to do what we are trained for.

MIQF manager Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Charanjit Singh said the main attributes needed for the role was empathy and displaying “soft skills”.

“It’s important that the public sees us going on operational deployment. This is one of the opportunities where they see us up front, doing things.”

“Empathy was necessary because many people have come in from a long flight, they’re tired and sometimes arriving quite late. All they want to do is get into the hotel, get into their rooms and settle in. Later on, the feedback we got was they were very positive about having military around.”

MIQF manager Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Gareth Russell said he was humbled to be able to work with such a competent, close-knit team at the Rydges in Auckland, where he was based.

As a multilingual speaker, SQNLDR Singh said being able to speak Hindi and Punjabi was useful for guests from India who did not know much English.

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“There was a gentleman and his wife who arrived and his wife was not well. She had to transfer to hospital, where she died. That gentleman was obviously very lonely. When I arrived there were some language barriers, but I could speak in Punjabi, so I was able to sit down and talk with him.”

“The most rewarding part of it was just feeling like you were helping out. There was one man who was feeling anxious because he had some tenants in a home that he was trying to get to,

F E AT U R E   |


Air Force personnel working with returnees staying in the MIQF MIDDLE

(L-R) F/S Leo Wiapo, MID Andre Debenham, W/O Kathleen Nikau, LAC Daniel Poufa RIGHT

Air Force personnel working at a MIQF

but who were refusing to move. All he needed was someone to sit down and talk to for half an hour.”

Squadron Leader Derek Bezuidenhout, also a MIQFs manager, said the work was different to anything else he had done.

Some of the returnees were going through tragic circumstances and the team would develop close bonds with them during the quarantine period, he said.

“It was pretty cool to interact with hotel staff and people from different organisations and it was quite enjoyable watching people leave and how happy they were.


There were challenging moments as well, with one member of the public persisting in attempting to enter the hotel – firstly to convince staff that Covid was a hoax.

“I really enjoyed the constant change. There was always something to improve. It was a constant improvement process because it’s never been done before.”


For new Pilot Officer (PLTOFF) Jordan Sebire, the deployment was his first after graduating from officer training.


“I was a coordinator and it was a little bit daunting but quite an exciting role to step into. It was a really good opportunity to put everything that I had just learned into practice – all the leadership skills.


“I told him he was absolutely entitled to his opinion, but he wasn’t entitled to be inside the fence. “A couple of weeks later he again tried to sneak in, but he was stopped by the security guards. Turned out he wanted to tell me he did believe Covid was a real thing. I again told him that he was entitled to believe anything he wanted, but he still couldn’t come in the hotel.” After his deployment, SQNLDR Russell wrote an open email to his command and colleagues saying: “Overall, I believe in this effort 100%. I feel NZDF is now part of a much bigger family and having direct involvement in the effort to keep NZ safe is both challenging and fulfilling.”

“I was at the hotel 24/7. It was long days of constant work – whether that was monitoring emails, updating ops reports, helping guests or talking with other agencies,” he said.

BY THE NUMBERS: at Managed Isolation Quarantine Facilities

offering maritime border support

supporting Police at Auckland checkpoints

providing planning support to a range of Government Agencies

100 for electoral support

Fellow coordinator Flight Sergeant (F/S) Leo Wiapo said working in the MIQFs was a positive experience.

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|  F E AT U R E


NZDF personnel at a MIQF RIGHT

F/S Leo Wiapo and MID Andre Debenham

“At the end of every day I would think to myself that even though I was exhausted, I’d always have a smile on my face. I felt it was really rewarding work and I was really proud to be doing something like that so early in my career.” – Pilot Officer Jordan Sebire

“If we had a positive effect on the guests and made their stay as easy as possible within the boundaries, that was a win. “It was cool working with the team we had and the other agencies. It highlighted how quickly the NZDF can make a team work and we get through the whole awkward communication stuff really, really quickly. You have to really get into the nuts and bolts as to how things work. We get into it early and the banter starts flying around.” Sergeant (SGT) Jale Lal, who worked as an assistant, said the experience working with the public and hearing their stories was an “eye-opener”. “You’d have people come in frustrated that they have to stay in a hotel. You’re the face of it all and so you have to try to put them in a good mood. Probably because I’m Fijian I’ve always got a smile on my face and that sets the tone.” Having patience, especially for the guests who didn’t have English as a first language, or didn’t speak English at all was a key skill, he said.

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“There was a family of refugees from Afghanistan who were new to the country and culture. I think it meant something to them that I was looking after them, because I had brown skin it meant they weren’t immediately overwhelmed by the new culture.” SGT Lal was thanked by one of the guests in a unique way after he bought a jar of Vaseline for him. “He drew me a treasure map for where to find paua and kina and told me that’s where I would find the best ones. Those little things made my day.” Aircraftman Ezra Tiffen enjoyed his time deployed as an assistant. “Everyone was really lovely and the guests were great. At one point we thought one had escaped but it turned out it was a teenager running across roofs, parkour-style. We called the police, but it was just a local kid. “It was a really good deployment and it was really nice to meet people from different places as well. They were isolated in the hotel, whenever they met new people, they liked to talk. When we came around with the nurses they all had good yarns.”

F E AT U R E   |

WORKING HARD TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE Wing Commander Richard Deihl and Squadron Leader Rebecca ‘George’ Magdalinos oversee two key aspects of the national Government response – Auckland’s Managed Isolation Quarantine Facilities (MIQFs) and allocating passengers arriving into the country to those facilities.


he pair work out of Auckland’s Regional Isolation and Quarantine Coordination Centre (RIQCC).

They work with the All of Government team as well as people from outside organisations including Auckland Airport, Air NZ and District Health Boards, Wing Commander (WGCDR) Deihl said. “Across the sites, including hotel staff, there are 2900 staff. There are about 500 agency staff there at the moment, but that will increase to about 800 or 900 once we get the full NZDF security people on site.” The Defence Force was a good option to lead these teams because its organisational structure made the dissemination of information and reporting and escalation of issues much more efficient. Personnel also all had experience in leading teams and utilising processes, procedures and systems to achieve outcomes, he said. “It’s good to see the role that the NZDF has played in this and we are trusted by Government to do it and so we’ve proven ourselves in previous operations to be able to do it and they know they can turn to Defence. “It’s shown that we have lots of good people who are adaptable to any situation,” WGCDR Deihl said. Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Magdalinos said she worked alongside incredible people working hard to make sure that they delivered what they needed to.

“We get to see the thank you letters the MIQF staff receive and it shows the difference our people make for the MIQF returnees. Everybody understands why we’re there. The people who are on site at the hotels really and truly make a difference to returnees and we get that feedback. There’s an enormous sense of pride that I get to be a small part of that.” There was a strong relationship between the Defence Force MIQF managers at the facilities and security, health and the hotel staff, SQNLDR Magdalinos said. “The role is so far removed from our day jobs, but we do it very, very well. We’re doing as much as we can in quite challenging circumstances. “What you can see is that commitment to make sure that the mission is well supported and we are doing everything we can to make sure we are doing our bit to protect New Zealand’s borders and the public from a potential outbreak.” Some situations in the MIQFs and RIQCCs have meant our personnel have been required to think quickly and make decisions on the spot, she said. “People at all levels of the organisation are demonstrating that ability to provide rapid solutions, or if they can see a gap they stretch to fill it while we get a more permanent solution in behind it.”

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PROTECTING THE PORTS Another aspect of the Defence Force deployment has been protecting our maritime borders. Nearly 80 personnel have been deployed to ports from Whangarei to Invercargill.


orporal (CPL) Shannon Pevreal is working at the NorthPort near Whangarei.

“We’re helping Customs NZ maintain the maritime borders. We ensure people are complying with wearing masks and gloves and carrying out correct sanitisation when they’re coming on and off overseas vessels, both to protect New Zealanders and to protect the crew as well,” she said.


“We just note that down and pass to the Customs officers and they give the person a friendly reminder about the rules – that’s usually enough.”



The team works in two shifts from 6.30am until 11pm, CPL Pevreal said.

6 Gisborne 6

“It’s really good to be able to contribute to protect the country. We’re just doing our part instead of waiting for the virus to disappear – it’s great to be proactive.”

The port mostly dealt with cargo vessels carrying logs, fertiliser and crude oil.









New Plymouth


“It’s been pretty good, most people are complying, there are a few who don’t abide by all the rules – they might just wear the mask and no gloves for example.

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Whangarei – NorthPort






F E AT U R E   |

PROVIDING AN AIR BRIDGE King Air aircraft have been working hard flying small groups of personnel around the country to fill their deployments at the MIQFs.


e’ve been moving our personnel to the locations for the quarantine facilities and bringing them home too,” Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Matt Stapp said.

The King Airs have also been transporting Government officials when necessary, including Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

During the flights the crews have been careful to ensure they wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, he said.

Through the early stages of lockdown the squadron made sure they were available 24/7, “which is something we are quite proud of”, FLTLT Stapp said.

“We wear masks when we’re boarding and getting off the aircraft and when we’re in close proximity to the passengers, but when we’re flying the cockpit door is closed – that’s our clean area. “We can’t wear the masks when we’re flying because they get in the way of the headsets.” The passengers all wear masks as well and when able to, the passengers are separated on the flight, FLTLT Stapp said.

“That was something pretty cool for the crew.”

“We had the crews available and we did a number of tasks including supporting flying our personnel around. “We’re doing our part and it’s a pretty cool thing to be involved in. While we’re not necessarily on the ground, it’s great to provide that air bridge and save people having to drive the length of the country.

“It’s good that we can have such a heavy involvement in Op Protect and particularly transporting people to where they need to be. It’s one of our high priorities right now.” – Flight Lieutenant Matt Stapp

“It’s quite helpful to have an aircraft that can transport a small amount of people when it would be impractical to use a Hercules.”

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|  C OV I D -19


GPCAPT Pete Griffin in Indonesia MIDDLE

GPCAPT Nick McMillan and his wife Beth at Japanese garden Kenroku-en, before the global pandemic RIGHT

WGCDR Steve Thornley at Picadilly Station in London at 4.30pm, which would normally be crammed with travellers

Deployed during a Pandemic Home feels a long way away when you’re deployed overseas. Even more so when a pandemic has gripped the world and coming home even for a short holiday is out of the question. Air Force News chatted with some of our Attachés posted abroad to see how different their deployments look now.

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New Zealand Defence Attaché to Japan and the Philippines Group Captain (GPCAPT) Nick McMillan said the first cases emerged in Japan just before the docking of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in early February. At that point there was still much unknown about the virus. “We worked alongside the Australians to get the Kiwis off the ship and repatriated back to New Zealand.”

“For the first few months we operated morning and afternoon shifts so we didn’t have too many people in the Embassy. We enforced mask-wearing, social distancing, and would have meetings via video conferencing as much as possible – even if we were having meetings with others in separate offices within the building.” No Embassy staff member contracted the virus, GPCAPT McMillan said.

In April/May, the Japanese Government requested the voluntary closure of all restaurants, parks and most non-essential shops, but the country’s capital, Tokyo was not locked down like in other countries. GPCAPT McMillan said it was partly because Japanese people tend to be very law-abiding and they were also a mask-wearing society.

“We have staff who are responsible for and look after their elderly parents so we are very mindful of that.”

Because of those factors, transmission levels were “extremely low” in the beginning, he said. But after the State of Emergency was lifted in late May, Japan was hit by a second wave of infections in July/August.

Defence Attaché to Indonesia and Timor-Leste GPCAPT Pete Griffin said transmission cases in Indonesia had been exceedingly high with about 3,000 cases identified daily – a figure considered to be under-reported according to the World Health Organisation.

“The last six months have been surreal and has severely curtailed our ability to do some things. But we now have time to do some of the more strategic work that we might not have had time to do if everything was normal.”

COVID -19  |

“The biggest challenge has been the uncertainty that the team has had to deal with and not knowing what the next steps will be. New Zealand is a long way away at the moment – you can’t just jump on an aeroplane and come home.” – Wing Commander Steve Thornley “Most ex-pats seem to be quite aware of the situation and they do all the right things, they wear masks, wash hands properly and keep their social distance as part of their routine. Masks are not unusual in a South East Asia environment anyway, so they were embraced pretty quickly,” he said. “In the Embassy we’d gone into two teams from February. I come to work generally every second day, so I can feel productive and I’ve got my own office, so I don’t feel like I’m in close contact with people during the day, which is fine.” The past six months had been “emotionally and mentally challenging” and the embassy team had to ensure they didn’t become too isolated, GPCAPT Griffin said. “Over the past few weeks we’ve been taking other Defence Attachés out for a game of golf, just to get out and get together. It’s a reasonably safe environment for a few of us to get together. It’s the highlight of the week. It’s been a way to get some work done as well.”

London’s Air Attaché Wing Commander (WGCDR) Steve Thornley said they had started practicing working in two separate bubbles shortly before the Government gave the stay home directive. “That was back in March and essentially that lasted for the better part of three months for us. Just this week schools went back, so there’s that little bit of normality coming back into the fray. “We set up our meetings working from home and cracked on from there.” Most of his colleagues now make their way to the High Commission, based on Haymarket in central London, by walking or cycling and avoiding public transport if they are required in the office.

“We live in the Borough of Lambeth, with a land area just a little bit bigger than [the Wellington suburb of] Karori and we’ve had nearly 300 deaths since March 25. I use that as a bit of a scale.” Arriving with his partner, three-year-old daughter and two dogs just a few weeks before the pandemic hit meant that WGCDR Thornley hadn’t had a typical start to his deployment. “It was fairly challenging because I didn’t get a chance to make those normal faceto-face contacts that you’d routinely make. I had essential ones like people within Air Staff and the Ministry of Defence, but it took a while to be able to branch out beyond that.

“The first time I rode my pushbike in from Clapham I got passed by two busses and one car. It’s surreal – you could ride your bike down The Mall and you’d be the only person there. London’s not the London that people know.

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|  C OV I D -19

Protecting our People

When Auckland was moved to Level 3 in August, Base Auckland’s Safety and Surface’s team in the Aeronautical Fabric Bay were asked if they could manufacture reusable masks for base personnel. They jumped at the chance to help.


light Lieutenant (FLTLT) Esmond Mather said the only limit on the number of masks they were making was the amount of fabric they were able to get their hands on. “We’re making as many as we can, but we’re also battling the external market for getting the fabric in. We’ve made about 80 at this stage and that was only over a couple of days. It’s a bit stop and start as the fabric comes in.” The masks will be distributed around the base by the Base Support Team who intend to prioritise personnel and families with the most need before being filtered to the units, FLTLT Mather said. “Overall, it’s quite rewarding work for the team. At the time the Aeronautical Fabric Bay did not have any urgent work requirement, so it was definitely something to come into work to do – and they felt like they were contributing to the fight.

“The masks are not classed as Personal Protective Equipment, but as a face covering it provides a layer of protection to stop that droplet spread.” Flight Sergeant (F/S) Peter Lincoln said the material used was generic lightweight cotton. “We were sent a template with some directions and also stated to make it three layers, which we followed. “The challenge for us was to get the material. All the fabric suppliers under Level 3 were closed and I think a lot of other people were also out there trying to buy material, so there was a bit of a shortage.” However, the team managed to secure some teal green material and then were able to get some navy blue and grey, F/S Lincoln said. “It was whatever they had on hand and what we could get quickly.”

The New Zealand Defence Force is providing two black reusable cloth masks to all its staff, so with the others being made by the Safety and Surface trade, they should see people right for quite some time, he said. “When this came up the team felt they could contribute to the wider output. They were definitely enthusiastic about getting in and being useful.”

“When you look at it, the skills that we’ve got, it makes real sense to utilise our abilities and the facility we’ve got here to be able to make a meaningful difference.” – Flight Sergeant Peter Lincoln

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# FAC E S O F YO U R FO R C E  |

No Ordinary Journey Pilot Officer Lydia Bamford’s Air Force journey began in high school when she attended the School to Skies programme. Now she’s on the Defence Force’s biggest deployment. “It’s been amazing to get involved in something so quickly after finishing my course and it feels cool to be able to go out and do something meaningful.” – Pilot Officer Lydia Bamford


he air warfare officer trainee topped the RNZAF Officer’s Course, winning the prestigious Sword of Honour. Almost immediately after beginning her career, she was volunteered to be part of Operation Protect. The 20-year-old has had a busy start to her career, but so far, it’s offering everything Pilot Officer (PLTOFF) Bamford hoped for. “I saw the School to Skies advert on Facebook was looking for girls interested in maths and science and I thought, ‘What have I got to lose? Maybe I’ll give it a go’. “I discovered it was a whole lot more than what I had originally thought it would offer.”

“On day two of starting at Base Auckland, I started driving for Op Protect. I was a bit nervous – everything was so new at that point, so I just went with it. “At the moment I’m doing the transport coordination and I’ve been in the MIQF (Managed Isolation Quarantine Facility) as well. So a bit of it all,” she said. “It’s been amazing to get involved in something so quickly after finishing my course and it feels cool to be able to go out and do something meaningful.” Being part of the deployment had been fulfilling as she was able to see the direct results of her efforts – seeing how it helped people to see loved ones or come back into their home country.

A ride in an NH90, as part of the programme, had PLTOFF Bamford’s sights set on becoming a helicopter loadmaster, but after appearing before the Selection Board, her gaze shifted to the air warfare officer trade.

Becoming an air warfare officer was a good fit for PLTOFF Bamford, who was focussed on wanting to help people.

After completing the RNZAF Officer’s Course, PLTOFF Bamford settled in to a holding position to wait for her trade training to begin, however, that plan was quickly curtailed with a deployment into Op Protect.

“I’m really looking forward to travelling with the job. I haven’t really been able to get out and see all the places of the world – and they will be different to the usual tourist hotspots.”

“There’s the opportunity to be involved in missions and have the chance to directly help people.

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Inaugural NZ P-8A Crew Graduates B Y


RNZAF aircrew have graduated from Patrol Squadron (VP) 30’s P-8A Category II Syllabus, becoming the country’s first aircrew to transition from the P-3K2 Orion to the P-8A Poseidon.


he No. 5 Squadron crew began training at Florida’s VP-30 in March 2020.

“Over the past six months, the crew has gone through significant training transitioning from the P-3K2 to the P-8A. A huge congratulations to the crew for their dedication and professionalism throughout the course, especially with the challenges 2020 has brought,” said Lieutenant David Scott, a VP-30 pilot who heads the squadron’s Foreign Military Sales Division. Captain (CAPT) T.J. Grady, VP-30 Commanding Officer, spoke to those gathered for the occasion, and said the United States enjoyed a long tradition of strategic partnership with New Zealand. “Diplomatically, economically, and militarily, the close relationship we have between our countries is grounded in our similar values, ideals, and interests.” Throughout his speech, CAPT Grady emphasised the importance of the crew’s presence at VP-30 in continuing to maintain the relationship and interoperability of the two countries. “The personal relationships you’ve built here, and the relationships you’ll build in the future, play a vital role in the security of our two nations.” During the event, CAPT Grady also presented a ceremonial plaque commemorating New Zealand’s inaugural crew to Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Ben Smith.

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Addressing the crowd in Māori, SQNLDR Smith said: “Kia ora tatou. Ko te moana nui a kiwa te moana. Ko Aotearoa te whenua. Ko te taua a rangi te iwi. Ko Five Squadron toku whānau. Ko Ben Smith toku ingoa. Naia nei ko te P-8A Poseidon te waka.” This translates to, “Good morning. The Pacific is my ocean. New Zealand is my land. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is my tribe. Squadron No. 5 is my family. I am Ben Smith. The P-8A Poseidon is now my aircraft”. Continuing in English and citing the Fijian motto of No. 5 Squadron, “We are incredibly proud to be the first Royal New Zealand Air Force P-8 crew. We are Crew 1. We are No. 5 Squadron. Keitou kalawaca na wasaliwa: we span the oceans. Before we know it, we will be patrolling the Pacific in our P-8A Poseidon, our waka.” After his speech, the entire crew performed the Air Force haka. Prior to their transition, the crew operated the P-3K2. Their background in maritime operations enabled the crew’s successful completion of the syllabus. Their experience will undoubtedly facilitate in the transition of future Air Force crews to the P-8A. Going forward, the graduating crew will remain attached to VP-30 and complete the Instructor-Under-Training syllabus to qualify as P-8A instructors. Not only will they help train four additional Air Force crews’ transition to the P-8A, but they will also support the training of US P-8A students, further bolstering the relationship between the New Zealand and US forces.


Push to live the Op Respect ethos B Y


Operation Respect is shifting gear and intensifying its focus, Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark says.


recently released independent Ministry of Defence review of Op Respect, written four years since it was introduced to eliminate harmful sexual behaviour in the NZDF, was critical of progress and made 44 recommendations for improvement. The report highlighted a lack of accountability of the programme and the recommendations included that the Auditor-General report on it biennially for the next 20 years. Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Clark, who is the Op Respect Steering Group chair, welcomed the increased scrutiny. “It will be very useful to have something that helps us keep a focus on our culture change journey – a journey that won’t just take three or four years, it will be at least 10. To achieve the culture we want Op Respect will focus on the elimination of bullying, discrimination and harassment as well as sexual violence.” He likened it to society’s move away from drink driving and said it had taken years for people to not only realise the harm getting behind the wheel after drinking did, but to actually change their own personal behaviours en masse.

AVM Clark said the report was disappointing but made him even more determined to make Op Respect stick. He saw NZDF leaders at all levels as the key to doing that. “We have to make this local. Camps, bases and units will need to own it in a more coherent way, and a more organic way, with better local communication, leadership and direction. Op Respect is not broken but it clearly needs improving.” One way of doing this involves appointing uniformed leads from each Service, and then expanding networks into each camp and base. Local unit leaders will play key roles in identifying and acting on their own priority areas for action with their own teams.

“They are the big successes: we’ve trained over 14,000 people, and many more of our people are coming forward to our SAPRAs for support,” he said. “But it’s naïve to think that you just give someone a training course and they go off and behave differently. What we need to do is reinforce the messaging, make it local and meaningful, keep checking up that it’s taking hold and keep having the conversations. “Culture change is hard. It’s messy and it covers complex areas of societal problems, so it’s not quick. All we can do is dig deeper, double down and make it stick.”

AVM Clark said it was also important to remember that, amidst the criticism of the programme, there were many positives as a result of it. That included launching it with energy, with urgency and with real substance. Waiting until a more developed strategy was in place could have taken time that was better spent standing up the Sexual Assault Response Team to deliver our Sexual Ethics and Responsible Relationships training.

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|  O U R H E R I TA G E

Remembering ‘The Few’ 80 Years On B Y


The Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 was one of the turning points of World War II. For five months, from June until October 1940, a small number of young fighter pilots of the Royal Air Force (RAF) struggled against the much larger German Luftwaffe for control of the skies over southern England. For the first time, Germany’s march across Europe was halted.

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he Fall of France in June 1940 and the evacuation of the British Army from Europe saw Great Britain standing alone. As Germany prepared to invade across the English Channel, RAF Fighter Command was the last line of defence. Fortunately, they were prepared. During the years before the war, their Commander, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding had introduced defensive measures such as radar to give early warning of attack, backed up by observers of the Royal Observer Corps. A complex system of air defence command and control was also set up, integrated with this early warning to direct the Battle. Even though the Germans were close across the Channel, the squadrons of No. 11 Group Fighter Command, led by inspirational New Zealander Air ViceMarshal Sir Keith Park, would have time to intercept them. Park’s skill and intuition was critical to the RAF’s ultimate victory.

Less than 3,000 RAF airmen fought in the Battle of Britain. 544 of them were killed. Over 700 would die in subsequent air operations during the war. On 20 August 1940, Churchill immortalised these men with the now famous words: “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few”. About 80% of the allied airmen in the Battle were from Great Britain; of the rest, including other Commonwealth nations as well as enemy-occupied countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, 23% were from New Zealand. One hundred and thirty-three Kiwi pilots, air gunners and observers took part, 20 of whom lost their lives, while others were wounded, and some were also captured as prisoners of war. Altogether, the New Zealanders destroyed 97 enemy aircraft, with some, such as Colin Gray and Brian Carbury, becoming aces.

O U R H E R I TA G E   |




The fact that so many New Zealanders fought in it means the Battle of Britain has an important place in our nation’s military aviation history. Every year the RNZAF commemorated the Battle through base open days, religious services and dinings-in. Even after the last New Zealand veteran passed away in 2017 and national commemorations ceased, the men and women of today’s Air Force still honour and acknowledge those who fought and died facing immense odds on the other side of the world. One of the last New Zealand veterans of the Battle, Keith Lawrence, summed up what motivated him and other Kiwis, in an interview late in his life: “Of course, it was terribly dangerous but why were you in a fighter for heaven’s sake?... It was up to me, you know. I suppose you don’t think about that, but it was inculcated, it was part of you. Yes, it was your duty to do it and you just got stuck in and did it.”



A dog fight in the sky over St. Pauls Cathedral in London, during the Battle of Britain TWO

The ‘Defender of London’ – New Zealander Air Vice-Marshal Sir Keith Park, whose role as commander of RAF Fighter Command’s No. 11 Group was instrumental during the Battle of Britain THREE

RAF ground crew working on a Hurricane while the pilot looks on FOUR


Kiwi fighter pilot Frank Brinsden from No. 19 Squadron RAF relaxing between sorties in the pilots’ quarters, with ‘Rangy’ the spaniel curled up beside him, September 1940 FIVE

Fighter pilots from No. 32 Squadron RAF, resting on the grass in front of one of their Hurricanes at RAF Hawkinge during the Battle of Britain SIX

Kiwi fighter aces Al Deere (left) and Colin Gray, both of whom fought in the Battle of Britain SEVEN

A fighter pilot prepares for a sortie during the Battle of Britain


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Fifty Years of Flying Kiwis B Y




he search for a national identity, in the form of a distinctly ‘New Zealand’ emblem for RNZAF aircraft, dates back to the 1950s. Until that time the RNZAF continued to use Royal Air Force (RAF) roundels as we had done since the 1930s. In 1957, due to mounting public pressure, and following the Royal Australian Air Force’s adoption of the kangaroo roundel the year before, the RNZAF adopted a white fern-leaf in the red centre of the existing RAF type roundel, (a kiwi roundel was investigated but the fern-leaf won out). Six months later it was changed to a ‘silver’ fern-leaf, an emblem that would last for the next 13 years. All was not well, however; the ferns were difficult to spot at a distance, and the decals used to apply them would degrade, leading some observers to remark that they looked like a scratch on the paintwork.

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The Kiwi roundel has now graced the aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force for 50 years, more than all other roundel types in total. Just how did a flightless bird end up as an enduring symbol of our Air Force?

2 To add insult to injury, there were also suggestions from some quarters that the fern leaf could be mistaken for a white feather – an infamous symbol of cowardice. Grumblings both from within the service and civilian population meant that the kiwi continued to be mooted as a ’better’ emblem for our Air Force. Kiwis had been appearing on RNZAF aircraft in various guises since the 1950s. No. 14 Squadron’s Venom aircraft operating from Singapore during the Malayan Emergency wore white kiwis on their tails from late 1956, as did their Canberra bombers, both abroad and at home. Canberra aircraft from No. 75 Squadron (aircraft leased from the RAF during the Malayan Emergency) wore red kiwis behind a blue map of New Zealand. It seems that, unofficially at least, the kiwi was the symbol of choice for many within the RNZAF.

By late 1969 the pressure for change grew louder still when the Commanding Officer of No. 41 Squadron, operating in Singapore amidst a multitude of RAF roundels, suggested that a black kiwi would be more appropriate and recognisable. Opinions were sought from within the service and unsurprisingly the kiwi had unanimous support. The case was presented to RNZAF Headquarters, complete with photographs of a C-47 Dakota (NZ53553) adorned with a kiwi roundel. The Air Staff were convinced and the process of refining the idea began. The initial kiwi design was apparently based on the one florin coin (the equivalent of the new 20 cent coin) but this was considered ‘a bit scrawny’ and unbalanced when set in the roundel.



3 On July 29, 1970 a revised (fattened up) design was submitted to the Defence Council, which approved the adoption of the new kiwi roundel on September 8, 1970. An icon was born. Instructions were drawn up and distributed to RNZAF bases for implementation and by February 1971 all operational RNZAF aircraft were wearing the new kiwi with pride. At 50 years old, the kiwi roundel remains an instantly recognisable symbol of our Air Force, both at home and abroad. The ‘flightless’ bird seems destined to continue ‘flying’ for a long time to come.


Harvards from No. 2 Service Flying Training, showing RAF-style roundels, 1944 TWO

No. 75 Squadron Canberra at Tengah, Singapore, 1960 THREE

Venom at RAF Tengah, Singapore, 1957 FOUR

An NH90 flying with the modern roundel on its side FIVE (TOP TO BOTTOM)

Florin coin that the initial kiwi design was based on; NZ3553 with mock up roundel; RNZAF kiwi roundel in the 2020s Images: RNZAF Official

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Looking down from the stars B Y


Commercial space technology has advanced increasingly rapidly over the past two decades, drastically lowering the cost of entry into space, therein offering new opportunities.

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S PAC E  |


he Defence Technology Agency (DTA) is looking at an amalgam of commercial “NewSpace” technologies and in-house sensing and processing techniques as a viable space option for the future NZDF and our maritime domain. Over the past decade we have been building our knowledge and expertise in space systems by engaging in research and development activities with NZDFs international partners. From 2013 to 2017 we tested the capability of the Canadian RadarSat-2 satellite to monitor our area of responsibility from the tropical waters north of New Zealand south to the sea ice of Antarctica. This provided us with experience and expertise in extracting shipping geolocation information from spacebased synthetic aperture radar imagery. It also highlighted some of the practical challenges we face in operating in our part of the world. Our next step in 2015 was to develop an experimental ground station that we could network with our international partners to increase the collective download data capacity. This makes the most of our unique location in the world – our ground station continually out-performs those of our partners. It is only connected to partners that have a formal research and development arrangement with the NZDF, and specific mission plans must be formally agreed to by the NZDF and must comply with New Zealand law. Locally, we partner with the University of Auckland in support of their space research programme.

The next step is to test on-orbit our sensing technology tailored to the unique characteristics of our maritime area. We are doing this in stages. We started by teaming up with our international partners to build our knowledge, expertise, and experience in space technologies. We also set up a development “Space Lab” to enable us to design, build, test, and control a simple payload for calibrating the ground station network. The next steps will take us deeper into understanding the intricacies entailed in demonstrating a satellite and data exploitation system tailored to New Zealand’s unique requirements. In learning more about space systems we also started exploring what is happening above our area of the world. To do this we built a small optical observatory to accurately track and measure position and brightness of satellites as they pass over New Zealand. This enables us to study changes in orbit, orientation, and/or configuration that may be indicative of unusual behaviour. Our research activities are enabling DTA to lead the way for the NZDF to gain greater understanding, knowledge, expertise, and experience in space technologies, space system engineering processes, and space interoperability with our international partners. The outcome from the DTA programme is helping to shape NZDF thoughts on the nature of our future space requirements and infrastructure.

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Wing Commander Danny Lazet On 10 Sept 2020, Wing Commander Danny Lazet, Air Warfare Officer, passed away after a brave battle against cancer. He was well-known across the RNZAF and NZDF, having worked with many of us over a career spanning 26 years.

ABOVE WGCDR Danny Lazet with his mother Petronella Lazet-Polman, on his last flight in a P-3K2 on 19 June this year.

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Wing Commander (WGCDR) Lazet joined the RNZAF as a Navigator in 1994, before going on to complete his Orion conversion course in 1996. He was a high-achiever and advanced quickly to upgrade to Tacco (Tactical Coordinator) on No. 5 Squadron. He also spent some time at Royal Australian Air Force Base East Sale as an instructor before returning to instruct on the P-3K2 Orion. In 2007, WGCDR Lazet was selected as the crew Tacco for the P-3 upgrade project and spent three years in the US developing training material and procedures on the prototype upgraded P-3K2 aircraft. WGCDR Lazet had more than 5,000 flying hours and many years of operational experience. This included a deployment as Air Liaison Officer at the SFOR Division Headquarters in Banja Luka, Bosnia.

Towards the later years of his career, he took up a role in capability branch, where he led the C4ISR Capability Working Group. It was noted that one of WGCDR Lazet’s greatest strengths that he brought to the capability branch was his reluctance to accept established doctrine and practices just because someone asserted it confidently. WGCDR Lazet was a thinker and liked to question people’s assumptions. He was diligent, enthusiastic, methodical and motivated. His final role for the RNZAF was developing strategy and working within Defence HQ/Air staff. At his funeral, there were many tributes about the great man he was. His funeral reflected the many key aspects of his life, from his Dutch heritage, to his love of mountain biking, and of course, his flying and Air Force career. He was clearly very loved and respected by his family, friends and Defence Force colleagues. He will be sorely missed.

N O T I C E S  |

Notices RNZAF GOLFING SOCIETY 70TH ANNIVERSARY TOURNAMENT Hosted by RNZAF Base Ohakea. Open to current and ex-serving RNZAF personnel Rangitikei Golf Course 1–5 Nov 2020 18 and 36 hole divisions

POINTS OF CONTACT: Auckland: Ohakea: Wellington: Woodbourne:

BODYBUILDING COMPETITION The New Zealand Defence Force in association with ICN New Zealand Presents: The Armed Forces and Emergency Services Bodybuilding and Fitness Competition 2021. For details and registration of interest please email: In support of Te Kiwi Maia – The Courageous Kiwi

AIRMAN CADET CLASS OF 1970 50TH REUNION 50th Reunion (Covid-19 delayed) for 27th Intake RNZAF Airman Cadets. We are planning a get together in Blenheim on the weekend of February 19–21, 2021 February 19 Dinner at RNZAF Base Woodbourne February 20 Gather at the Clubs of Marlborough Visit to Omaka and/or vineyards Dinner and refreshments February 21 Visit to RNZAF Base Woodbourne Invitation is extended to any Staff from 1970 also. Contact Brian Graham (Guntha) at:

CRITERIA FOR LONG SERVICE AWARDS HAVE BEEN UPDATED Fairer and more modern, it means your eligibility has changed. For more information go to


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Flying over the Cook Strait can be challenging for many modern aircraft. Most New Zealanders have experienced the temperamental conditions the 22 kilometres of water between the North and South Islands has to offer. Luckily for the 1930s-designed de Havilland Fox Moth, the conditions were almost perfect.

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WE T N A W R U O Y N O I S PAS Be part of the New Zealand Defence Force There are over 109 roles available including IT, communications, engineering, logistics, aviation, medicine, and emergency response. Some roles require a degree and some don’t. We also have university and graduate scholarships available. 08001FORCE