Timor Leste President honours Peacekeeping Personnel
President of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and medal recipient Commander Lance Cook (OH09-0082-01)
17 February 2009
On 16 February at a ceremony at Premier House in Wellington, Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta presented five New Zealand Defence Force personnel and a Police officer with the Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste (the Timor-Leste Solidarity Medal). The medals were given to a representative group to acknowledge the part New Zealand Defence Force and Police personnel played in New Zealand ’s peacekeeping response to violence that broke out in Timor-Leste in 2006
A100-man Guard of Honour stood on the grass at Premier House while the NZ Army Band played God Save the Queen and God Defend New Zealand. Conch shells sounded as His Excellency the President of Timor-Leste was escorted on to the grounds for the powhiri and wero. The karanga rang out before the Maori Cultural Group launched into the haka powhiri
President Ramos Horta said the government of Timor-Leste had not, until now, had the chance to develop a legal framework to honour those who had served in his country. He said the Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste went some way towards recognising the contribution made by both NZDF and Police personnel to peace in Timor-Leste. He also said that a posthumous medal would be awarded to Private Leonard Manning, who was killed while on patrol in East Timor.
The Associate Minister of Defence Heather Roy described the presentation of these medals as “a fitting recognition of the challenges these New Zealanders have met and the important role they have played in Timor-Leste’s journey towards peace and stability,”. She said that it was a "significant and welcome development for Timor Leste to now be in a position to recognise the service of others".
A further 700 NZDF personnel and more than 100 New Zealand Police will receive the medal at separate ceremonies in Timor-Leste and around New Zealand in the coming months. Following the medal presentation President Horta chatted with all the medal recipients and their families.
Recipients at the ceremony were:
1. Commander Lance Cook, Royal New Zealand Navy
Served in Timor-Leste as Deputy Commander International Stabilisation Force and New Zealand Senior National Officer from February to August 2008.
2. Major Julie Richardson, New Zealand Intelligence Corps
Served in Timor-Leste as a military adviser to the Timor-Leste Defence Force from September 2007 to September 2008.
3. Sergeant Gary Clark, Royal New Zealand Air Force
Served in Timor-Leste as a helicopter crewman from July to October 2007 and July to October 2008.
4. Corporal Jamie Reid, Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment
Served in Timor-Leste as a stores person from May to December 2006.
5. Corporal Lauren Dwyer, Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps
Served in Timor-Leste as a medic from May to December 2006.
New Zealand Police
6. Superintendent Tony McLeod, New Zealand Police
Served in Timor-Leste as New Zealand Police Contingent Commander from April to October 2008.
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