Kiwi troops due home from Solomon Islands today

Those heading home today are due to land in Christchurch at 4pm. Photo / CPL Rachael Park
Those heading home today are due to land in Christchurch at 4pm. Photo / CPL Rachael Park

Nearly 10 years of peace-keeping in the Solomon Islands end today, with the last of the Kiwi troops coming home today.

The 16th rotation to serve in the small Pacific country flies into Christchurch this afternoon, after a four month deployment.

Brigadier Mark Wheeler from the New Zealand Army says it is absolutely the right time for New Zealand to withdraw.

"The military side's not required - we can now fade out. We're really comfortable that we've done our job in allowing police, particularly the Solomon Islands' police, to take the credit for how stable this place is.

"There are law and order issues here. There may be riots and those things but they're really one off events, they come and go and I would hope we don't have to come back on a permanent basis."

One of the few Kiwi troops being left behind in the Solomon Islands is preparing to say goodbye to his mates.

Eight Kiwi personnel will remain, including Corporal Riwi Thomas.

He says it is difficult to see his friends head home and hopes he can see his own family soon.

"To my darling wife and my children, I miss them very, very much. I wish they were here with me to see what I'm seeing, but I think of them every day and are close to my heart at all times, and my guinea pig and dog."

Corporal Thomas says it is tough being left behind.

"Good for them going home. It'd be nice to see them hang around but I'm glad that they're going home as well so they can go home to their families over the Christmas break."

Those heading home today are due to land in Christchurch at 4pm.

New Zealand will continue to play its role in the Regional Assistance Mission, with eight military personnel and around 20 police officers still based in the Solomon Islands.

- Newstalk ZB

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