11 Oct 2011

NZ High Commissioner hails joint exercise with US on Tokelau water crisis

7:50 pm on 11 October 2011

The New Zealand high commissioner to Samoa, Nick Hurley, says the joint New Zealand/United States exercise to get fresh water to drought hit Tokelau was a great chance to show how both countries can work together in an emergency.

Mr Hurley has been on the US Coastguard cutter, The Walnut, over the past four days as it's successfully delivered thousands of litres to the three atolls.

In addition, the Walnut crew also helped assess the condition of water tanks on the islands and Mr Hurley says this was much appreciated by the local communities.

"It was actually quite a touching moment when we concluded our visit this morning, with the Ulu of Tokelau - he exchanged the flag of Tokelau with the flag of the United States, with the commander of the Walnut, in recognition of this amazing opportunity and participation in providing relief to them."

The New Zealand high commissioner to Samoa, Nick Hurley, speaking by satellite phone from the US Coastguard cutter, the Walnut.