NZ military exercise in Fiji
The New Zealand army and air force are taking part in tropical training exercises in Fiji for the first time since the 1987 coups.
New Zealand military aid programs, navy visits and maritime surveillance flights have been carried out in Fiji during the past year, but the air force and army exercises beginning July 21 are the first on Fijian soil since 1986.
Air force spokesperson Diana Hales said about 140 army and 120 air force members would be based on Viti Levu, Fiji's main island, for two to three weeks for tropical training and to provide expertise and support for several Fiji civil aid tasks.
Exercise Tropic Dusk 93, involving an infantry company training with the Fiji military forces, runs till August 10.
Hales said engineers and other trade staff would work on civil rebuilding projects mainly made necessary by January's Cyclone Kina. These include converting a building into a maternity and child health care clinic, rebuilding a school toilet block and erecting power pylons.
The air force would also reconnoitre remote villages of the Lau group not visited since the cyclone.
The air force was providing three Iroquois helicopters and two Andover aircraft and would also take part in Tropic Astra 93 and Tunex 93 long-range communications exercises, she said.
[Pacnews via Pegasus.]