A Northland RSA is appealing to veterans of recent conflicts to get in touch amid concerns they are missing out on support they need.

Most current members of the Kerikeri RSA served in Vietnam, Borneo and Malaya, with a few remaining veterans from World War II.

However, men and women who served in places like East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq since 1999 are notable by their absence.

That has people like welfare trust member Frank Lewis worried they're missing out on help they need and are entitled to.


''We know there are more veterans living in Kerikeri area but we have no idea how many. It may be that they are all fit and well and don't need help, we just don't know.

''We have funding from Poppy Day and bequests we can use to help them but it's under-utilised. We want them to know we are here and we're available to help.''

Members of Kiwi Team One on foot patrol in Bamyan province, Afghanistan. Photo / Sam Shepherd
Members of Kiwi Team One on foot patrol in Bamyan province, Afghanistan. Photo / Sam Shepherd

Lewis said there was no official database recording ex-servicemen and women or where they went when they left the armed forces.

Younger veterans saw the RSA as an ''old, grey-haired organisation'' but he urged them to get in touch, especially if they needed help.

Kerikeri RSA welfare support officer Claire Eyres said veterans of recent conflicts were more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than physical injuries.

One of the reasons, she believed, was that modern veterans had fewer opportunities to talk to other ex-servicemen and women because they were more widely scattered throughout the country.

Help that could be provided included counselling, transport to medical appointments, and advice for those affected by Northland's increasing housing shortage.

Just last week it was revealed that the charity No Duff, which helps veterans of modern conflicts and fills the gaps left by the RSA and Veterans' Affairs, had been forced to cut its 24-hour support service due to a funding shortfall.


The move affects New Zealand's 30,000 contemporary veterans, many of whom have mental health issues related to their overseas service.

■ Contact the Kerikeri RSA's welfare team by emailing welfare.kerirsa@gmail.com or calling 0272 349 688. The Kerikeri RSA currently meets at the Homestead Tavern with club night every Thursday.