Bomb disposal demand high
The Defence Force bomb squad dealt with a record number of bomb and explosive threats this year, including one where a digger accidentally uncovered buried drums of chemicals.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron (E Squadron) was called to more than 750 incidents in the past year - 140 more than 2011.
E Squadron is an army unit, but its personnel draw from all three branches of defence.
The commanding officer, Major Adam Modd, said it had been a busy and "interesting" year.
One of the more unusual incidents was at a farm near Invercargill where a digger driver suffered burns after his digger ruptured buried drums containing hazardous chemicals.
He said typical call outs often involved disposing of unusable commercial explosives or getting rid of unexploded devices in public places.
Modd said in their busiest week the bomb squad dealt with nine separate incidents across New Zealand.
And, in what might be a pre-requisite for the job, Modd said the team worked incredibly well under pressure.
"[Members] are extensively trained to recognise a wide range of munitions, understand how they function, and know how to effectively and safely dispose of them.
"Personnel are also trained to render safe IEDs and deal with complex chemical, biological, and radioactive incidents.
“Our operators have to cope with a multitude of pressures that exist in this type of role."