New Zealand Defence Force and police personnel who will be deployed overseas on Christmas Day can expect a bit of Kiwi cheer thanks to Christmas parcels packed last week.
Volunteers from local Returned and Services' Associations and children from Mount Cook School in Wellington joined with defence force and police staff to help pack the parcels, which included lollies, biscuits, chewing gum and ingredients to make that all-time favourite Kiwi dip, as well as licorice and Christmas cards from pupils in Burnham, Linton, at St Joseph's (Upper Hutt), Devonport, and Mount Cook School.
More than 350 parcels were packed, and will be sent to personnel on operations in 12 countries, including Afghanistan, East Timor, South Korea, South Sudan, Egypt and Antarctica.
'It's not easy being away from family and friends at Christmas, so these parcels give our deployed people a small reminder of home," says Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Dave Gawn.
'Our personnel do a great job on operations overseas, and we want them to know that we appreciate their hard work, especially over the holiday period.
'This is the last year that a large number of parcels will be required for our larger deployments in Afghanistan and East Timor as these missions come to a close."
RSA Christmas parcels have been sent to troops overseas since World War I. Financial contributions from local RSAs, the navy, army, air force, and police welfare funds enable the parcels to be sent each year.
'The Christmas parcels mean so much to the RSA movement because it is our way of acknowledging the great work of defence and police personnel on deployment overseas, and of bringing us closer to them at this special time,' says RSA national president Don McIver.
There are 376 personnel deployed on 14 operations and missions in the 12 countries.
- The Wellingtonian