During the late 1980s New Zealand’s participation in peacekeeping duties increased.
The RNZAF sent air contingents a number of NZDF peacekeeping missions:
The Multi-national Force and Observers (MFO) Sinai, Egypt. The RNZAF operated leased helicopters for the MFO 1982 – 1986.
An RNZAF Andover Detachment deployed to the United Nations International Military Observer Group (UNIMOG) in Iran 1988–1990.
Somalia, 1993; an Andover detachment was sent to as NZ's contribution to the Unified Task Force to distribute humanitarian relief.
Other humanitarian airlifts were conducted by Hercules and Boeing 727 aircraft of No.40 Sqn in the Middle East and Rwanda. The Squadron also provided air transport support to the NZ Army contingent in Bosnia during 1994–1996.
Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, 1997; New Zealand led a Truce Monitoring Group into the war-torn Island. The RNZAF made daily Hercules flights to Bougainville for the setting-up (23 flights using three aircraft and crews), along with the deployment of three Iroquois helicopters and crews with support personnel onto the Island. The Helicopter Force Element served in Bougainville from December 1997–April 1998, with its Iroquois painted in a distinctive orange colour scheme.
East Timor, 1999; pressures for independence within came to a head; two Hercules of No.40 Squadron joined RAAF Hercules evacuating UN personnel and Timorese from the violence. The Hercules then played a full part, alongside the RAAF, to fly in troops for INTERFET, which took over East Timor from Indonesian control until elections could be held.
A detachment of six Iroquois and 140 RNZAF personnel deployed to East Timor to support the NZ Battalion. No.40 Squadron Hercules and Boeings continued to provide regular re-supply flights to and from East Timor where the NZ contingent became part of the United Nations Force (UNTAET).
The NZDF remains committed to Timor-Leste today and RNZAF personnel continue to serve there.
In 2001-2003 events in the Solomon Islands deteriorated until Australia and New Zealand sent in security forces. This meant a considerable commitment of NZDF elements, including the helicopters of No.3 Sqn, to the Solomons.
That NZDF commitment, alongside Australian Defence Force and Police personnel, continues today.