13 Jul 2016

NZ's Chief of Navy Rear Admiral visits Tonga

10:39 am on 13 July 2016

The New Zealand Chief of Navy Rear Admiral John Martin is in Tonga this week on a bilateral visit that includes meeting the King and touring Masefield Navy base and Taliai Army Camp.

He said Tonga has one of New Zealand's longest and closest defence relationships dating back to the First World War, and have served alongside each other in time of peace and at war.

Rear Admiral Martin said it was great to be able to visit and discuss the ongoing relationship with HM King Tupou VI, Brigadier Fielakepa and their staff.

He said the two forces also serve alongside each other right now in Ha'apai for Exercise Tropic Twilight.

Matangi Tonga reports that last week, the New Zealand Defence Force deployed with Tonga's Armed Forces and other defence partners, including the United States, China and France, in Ha'apai for the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise, providing medical personnel and assistance to civil communities.

Tonga's Chief of Defence Brigadier Fielakepa said the relationship with the New Zealand Defence Force is the kingdom's oldest defence relationship .

Masefield Naval base on Tonga is named after New Zealand's Lieutenant Masefield who commanded the first Tongan commando troops in Solomon Islands.