From growing up on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in the Bay of Islands to working at a peacekeeping base on the Red Sea in Egypt it seems Carla Marsh is never far from the briny.

The 25-year-old, who grew up in Paihia, joined the Navy and is now on deployment as a naval military policewoman on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

"I was into swimming and my family had boats when I was growing up so I've always been by the water," Marsh said.

"Now from my window on base I can look out and see the Red Sea."


South Camp is based in Sharm el Sheikh on the southern tip of the peninsula, on a bluff overlooking the Red Sea.

Talking to the Northern Advocate from the overseas base last week the former Kerikeri High School student said the experience had been amazing but she did miss her family and friends.

"There are not many jobs in the world where you can be moved 10,000km from home to do a job that helps maintain world peace."

It is the first land-based job she has had since joining the navy seven years ago.

"I'm really interested in investigations and enjoy talking to people. A lot of our job is problem solving, so I like the challenge of that and not one day is the same. I like being able to help others when they have an issue that needs resolving, and we also get to work with the New Zealand Police."

South Camp on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Photo / Supplied
South Camp on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Photo / Supplied

The Army arrives in Kaitaia
Army arrives in Kaitaia as water crisis deepens
History of Northland military heritage to be recorded
Northland's wartime history uncovered from secret documents

She is part of a 28-strong Kiwi contingent with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Her Military Police role in New Zealand was diverse and could range from general policing duties to investigations involving military personnel.


In the Sinai, Marsh is the section commander at the Force Military Police Unit in South Camp.

"Our mission is to ensure maintenance of discipline and good order within the MFO, taking into consideration the jurisdiction, authority, powers, and discretion of the Force Provost Marshal.

"As a section commander my job is to facilitate the daily operation of the Force Military Police Unit, ensuring preventative policing and continuation training is conducted, responding to incidents and conducting on-base security patrols to support the MFO mission."

Being deployed in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic has made life interesting for the Kiwis, but thanks to an early introduction of lockdown procedures and isolation of the camps on March 10, there have been no cases of Covid-19 within the MFO and life has been able to continue relatively normally.

Marsh will soon be able to turn her attention to heading home, although the normally six-month deployment is likely to run slightly longer because of the difficulties in returning to New Zealand.

New Zealand Defence Force personnel normally rotate out of missions every six to twelve months, depending on the nature of the deployment. Border closures, travel restrictions and other measures imposed to restrict the spread of Covid-19 mean the Kiwis in the Sinai are waiting to hear when they can return home.

Marsh said it was amazing to be part of a team doing such important work.

"The MFO has been in the Sinai for 38 years and by being here we've helped defuse one of the world's hotspots. Knowing this makes being away from home worthwhile."

In addition to the equal funding provided by Egypt, Israel and the United States, the MFO also presently receives contributions from the Governments of Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Thirteen States — New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Fiji, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay — currently provide the MFO with military personnel that make up the force and perform specific and specialised tasks.