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Levin woman swaps home comforts for Timor challenge

27 September 2007

While most Kiwi’s are relaxing at home enthralled by the Rugby World Cup, Levin’s Karen Tatana is busy tasking military helicopters in Timor Leste.

The 27-year-old former Waiopehu College student is serving with more than 170 NZDF personnel and two Iroquois helicopters based near Dili.

Her role involves liaising with Australian defence staff in the ANZAC Combined Joint Task Force to decide how the Iroquois can best be used each day to maintain security.

“Coming from a fixed wing aircraft background my biggest challenge has been learning to adapt to the rotary wing environment. I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Timor Leste and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work with different squadrons and travel so much,” Corporal Tatana said.

The three month tour of duty with the Iroquois detachment in Timor Leste is her first operational deployment but she has previously traveled to Easter Island, France, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, the USA, UK, Middle East and Pacific Islands with the NZDF.

The camaraderie and adventure she has experienced during these trips are the highlight of her career, she said.

The current rotation of Air Force personnel will return home to New Zealand in October.

Coporal Tatana’s brother is training to become an officer in the New Zealand Army and her parents live and work in Levin. Her father, Mick, is the owner of Levin-based Mick Tatana Removals.