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Defence thanked after 'turbulent' year

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/12/2016

It has been a "turbulent and extraordinary year" for the world and a busy one for the New Zealand Defence Force overseas and at home, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

In thanking personnel for their service and sacrifice Mr Brownlee summed up the events of the busy year in which natural disaster assistance was a dominating feature.

"It was a year which, once again, saw our people at their very best," he said.

The year kicked off with teams deployed to assist Australia after devastating bushfires in Tasmania, later to Fiji in the largest ever peacetime deployment to help with cleaning up widespread destruction caused by Cyclone Winston.

At home the Defence Force responded to the Kaikoura earthquake with support from Australia, Canada and the US .

"Amid all this, Defence Force personnel continued to participate in deployments around the world - from the Middle East to Antarctica - to ensure we do our bit in the global community," Mr Brownlee said.

"This has included training 16,000 Iraqi soldiers to enable them to combat Daesh."

Ceremonially it was also a big year of celebrations and anniversaries.

The Army Band performed for the Queen at Windsor Castle, the Navy celebrated its 75th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme was commemorated.

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