Selwyn’s ties with the NZDF

by Sam Broughton

Our community has a close relationship with the New Zealand Defence Force, and it is great to have Burnham Camp in Selwyn.

Over the past couple of years, our council has worked hard on strengthening the relationship.

It has been a privilege to be the patron of their LSV course and to visit the camp, midwife and school on numerous other occasions.

Over the last week, I have been fortunate to visit with Defence Force personnel who are now serving in Korea.

Our New Zealand crew of about a dozen are very involved in maintaining, educating, and communicating about and across the Demilitarised Zone.

The situation is very complicated in that there is an agreed armistice that has lasted decades but with no formal peace deal yet.

The United Nations are involved but not as traditional peacekeepers, many nations are working together towards peace, and the Swiss and Swedish are overseeing the people who administer the protocols around the Demilitarised Zone. Seeing and hearing about North Korea with my own eyes and ears helped dismiss some of the fantasy that I had built up or had been led to believe.

Only four kilometres sits between the two countries and yet they seem worlds apart.

Most of the people who are serving are away from their families for extended periods of time, which is often expected in the forces, but being away from my family at the time brought home how hard that can be.

So to those who know what it’s like to be at home without your loved one, thank you for letting them serve our country.

I felt proud to be a Kiwi as I saw the work we are involved in to support peace in a dangerous place.