New Zealand

New Zealand flag

New Zealand is the second-largest contributor to RAMSI, with civilians, military and police from across New Zealand serving in all facets of RAMSI since it began in July 2003.  

The position of RAMSI Deputy Special Coordinator is held by a senior public servant from New Zealand.

  • Private Dion Netana-Nathan, from Ngapuhi in New Zealand’s North Island, is a proud member of RAMSI’s military contingent.

    Private Dion Netana-Nathan, from Ngapuhi in New Zealand’s North Island, is a proud member of RAMSI’s military contingent.

    Having served with the New Zealand Armed Forces for over four years, Private Netana-Nathan is now participating in his first overseas mission as part of RAMSI.

    Like many of his fellow Australian, Tongan and Papua New Guinean solders serving as part of RAMSI’s military contingent, Private Netana-Nathan is a ‘reservist’, meaning he serves part-time with the military and holds another job in his life back home.

    His profession is as a Physical Conditioner, helping to strengthen and prepare professional rugby players for the punishment that their bodies receive on the field. This job has seen him work in Australia and New Zealand with a number of elite rugby teams.

    Prior to his career in physical conditioning, Private Netana-Nathan had spent a number of years throughout the world, including playing professional rugby in Japan and England. He believes this experience gave him valuable experience in understanding differences in cultures, something he says is critical to his work in Solomon Islands.

    “It’s great to be able to work on patrols throughout the country, and have the opportunity to meet so many people from different walks of life,” said Private Netana-Nathan. “And having the ability to be open-minded and look at another person’s point of view – it is obviously critical to this job.”

    Private Netana-Nathan, who is of Maori heritage, is one of the New Zealand military’s leaders when it performs the haka, the famous pre-battle ceremony that is of enormous importance to New Zealand culture. He believes that his pride in his Maori heritage has played an important part in the connections he has made with the Solomon Islanders he has met as part of his work with RAMSI.

    “There are many similarities in our customs; our respect for thousand-year old traditions, our British colonial history, and our shared Pacific feelings.”

    “It is something that I’ve really noticed in our work in patrols; people seem to want to talk – to stori – with us,” he said. “People want to share the experience of interacting with people from another culture. It’s a great thing to be a part of.”

  • Senior Constable Norm McIntosh has been serving with RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) for five months as an adviser to members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

    Senior Constable Norm McIntosh has been serving with RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) for five months as an adviser to members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. A veteran policeman of over 34 years, Mr McIntosh arrived in Solomon Islands in 2009 hoping for an experience that was completely different from anything he had done before.

    And after leaving the small community of Ngaruawahia on New Zealand’s North Island, and setting foot on Solomon Islands soil, ‘completely different’ is exactly the experience Mr McIntosh has had.

    Known to most of his friends and family in New Zealand simply as ‘Uncle Norm’, Mr McIntosh is now serving alongside members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force at Rove, Central, Chinatown, Naha, White River and Borderline police posts. His service with RAMSI is his first overseas posting, and is an experience that he believes has had an enormous impact on him personally.

    His core work in Solomon Islands sees him providing advice, guidance and positive reinforcement to local police in Honiara as part of the long-term rebuilding of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. This work, he says, has provided him with experiences that will remain some of the greatest highlights of his 34-year career in the police force.

    “When I go on shift alongside those guys, it’s amazing to see the things that they are achieving already – despite being such a young police force.”

    “My role is to work with them, alongside them, to give them the confidence to make those important decisions,” said Mr McIntosh. “I hope that my work can help to teach the guys more about various policing skills, such as reporting and response to incidents. I also hope that in some way, I can help give them the self-esteem that they deserve.”

    And Mr McIntosh’s role with RAMSI has also taken him beyond Honiara. In November, he travelled to Malaita, where alongside soldiers from RAMSI’s military team, he undertook a five-day hike through villages along the south Malaitan coast. His role in this hike was to talk to people living in villages throughout the journey about the challenges they are facing, and to discuss the work of RAMSI as it builds capacity in the Solomon Islands Government and the police force, as well as making new friendships along the way.

    “It really was an amazing journey to be a part of,” said Mr McIntosh. “For me, to be able to walk, talk and stay with the people we met was unforgettable.”

    “I learned a great deal about Solomon Islands culture, and a little more about the value of the important things in life: family, friendship and the company of loved ones.”

    One of Mr McIntosh’s counterparts in the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Constable Alice Foanaota, says Mr McIntosh’s strengths are in his ability to communicate and make everyone feel good about the work they are doing.

    “Norm is very open, he is always willing to talk with anyone,” said Ms Foanaota. “His is always looking out for us, and is always encouraging us.”

    “It’s good because we learn from him, and he is always joking, making us really enjoy our work. We will really miss him when he leaves.”

    When he does leave later this year, Mr McIntosh’s legacy is set to be long-lasting. One of his other Solomon Islands counterparts, Constable Livingston Alesasa, has developed such a strong bond with Mr McIntosh that he named his baby boy, Margton McIntosh Alesasa, after Mr McIntosh.

    If that was not enough, Mr McIntosh had the rare honour of being chosen to play Santa Claus at the 2009 Carols in the Islands event, which saw him dressed as Santa, arriving by helicopter to the excited screams of more than 10,000 people.

    “It was an amazing dream,” said Mr McIntosh of his moment of nation-wide fame. “Arriving like that in a helicopter, with all those thousands of people smiling up at me; it was really an incredible thing – the best thing I’ve ever done.”


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