5 Apr 2011

New Zealand navy to join international Pacific aid flotilla

3:04 pm on 5 April 2011

A New Zealand Defence Force ship is off to Tonga and Vanuatu as part of a US-led humanitarian exercise.

HMNZS Canterbury, her crew and up to 150 other personnel, including medical experts and engineers, will head to Niuatoputapu in Tonga and Santo in Vanuatu.

Pacific Partnership is a humanitarian assistance and disaster response exercise, which will provide civil aid in Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia.

New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully, says following the 2009 earthquake and tsunami, there is considerable reconstruction still to be done on the school on Niuatoputapu.

"I understand that there's other public infrastructure as well, that still needs work. We certainly welcome the fact that the US and Australian forces are coming to play a part. We have a history ourselves of conducting an exercise of our own."

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully.