28 Feb 2016

NZ defence force staff ready to help Fiji

9:48 pm on 28 February 2016

The HMNZS Wellington has arrived in Fiji with 60 tonnes of aid supplies and 71 military personnel ready to "get stuck in" and help the country clean up and rebuild.

Military personnel offload aid supplies in Fiji.

Military personnel offload aid supplies in Fiji. Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

The New Zealand Defence Force vessel arrived in Suva this morning. The HMNZS Canterbury left Auckland tonight with more aid supplies and hundreds of staff.

Cyclone Winston struck Fiji on 20 February, hitting particular areas with such force buildings and trees were destroyed, 42 people were killed and two people are still missing. Almost 60,000 people were forced into evacuation centres.

The Wellington will offload some supplies and pick up six members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and refuel before heading north to the Lau group of islands, the ship's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Matt Kaio said.

The HMNZS Wellington n Fiji.

The HMNZS Wellington n Fiji. Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

There it will deliver aid and check the harbour to identify a suitable spot for the Canterbury to operate from.

"We are working to the Fiji government's priorities and their highest priority at the moment is for remote communities in the northern outlying islands to have access to food, water and shelter," Mr Kaio said.

"Everyone is excited to be here and get stuck in and do our job. Fiji is a close neighbour and any good Kiwi will always help out his mates."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs