Traditional Kiwi products including ANZAC biscuits, Marmite and Bluebird chips will be among the goodies in parcels opened on Christmas Day by New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and police personnel on operational postings overseas.
Nearly 500 parcels were packed at the Naval Reserve Base in Wellington today by NZDF personnel and Royal New Zealand Returned Service Association (RNZRSA) volunteers to be sent to 13 locations including Afghanistan, Antarctica, Timor Leste, Solomon Islands and the Sinai.
The RSA has a long tradition of sending parcels to troops overseas that began during World War I. The annual project is funded by generous financial donations from local RSA branches throughout the country, contributions from both the Army and Air Force Central Welfare Funds and individual members of the public.
"Opening one of these parcels brings a small part of New Zealand to those troops who are away from their families at Christmas," Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jack Steer said.
“I am extremely proud of the work our personnel are doing overseas and I hope that seeing the reminders of home will bring them all a smile on Christmas Day.”
New Zealand Army Captain Alistair Rankin was among those helping to pack the RSA parcels today. He received similar parcels when he was deployed to Singapore in the late 1970’s and Cambodia as part of the mine action centre in 2004.
“It’s pretty significant when you are overseas. You go for months without the comforts of home so to receive parcels like these at Christmas is a real morale booster.”
The New Zealand Defence Force has 771 personnel deployed overseas. About 500 will remain deployed over the Christmas period.