The largest NZ Defence Force exercise in 15 years is underway in the Bay.

Exercise Alam Halfa will involve about 1500 people from the NZ Defence Force, bringing together maritime, land and airmobile forces.

Troops will practise in a high-end combat setting, while the scenario requires them to restore peace and transfer control of a fictional country back to law enforcement and democratic authorities.

"These exercises form a vital part of the NZ Army's operational cycle," NZ Brigade Commander Colonel Chris Parsons said.


"They allow us to prepare for a variety of likely contingencies - to ensure that New Zealand can play its part in our region or around the globe reducing conflict and improving stability."

Several hundred personnel from the NZ Army's 2/1 Battalion, based in Burnham Military Camp, arrived in the Port of Napier yesterday, disembarking from the amphibious sealift ship HMNZS Canterbury. This coincided with the arrival of more than 900 personnel from Linton Military Camp who travelled by road.

Local residents throughout the central North Island should not be surprised to see personnel and vehicles as they move between locations over the coming week.

As is common with large-scale exercises of this kind, the NZ Defence Force would also be exercising with components from other militaries in the Pacific region.

About 80 personnel from the US Army and the US Marine Corps Pacific forces would participate.

The exercise involved all three Services of the Defence Force and was the biggest since the Exercise Green Fern series in 1997/98."

Military exercises, p4