He's home at last.
New Zealand's one and only soldier in Iraq has finished his deployment, marking the end of the Defence Force's eight-year commitment.
Lieutenant Colonel Oiroa Kaihau returned from Baghdad this month.
The Defence Force initially deployed to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) in 2003, but, after an attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad which killed 21 people, the Government withdrew its commitment.
The Defence Force resumed the mission in 2005, when a UN presence was re-established in the country.
Kaihau was the first New Zealander in the role when the mission recommenced, and has now brought it to a close, serving two years altogether in Iraq.
Despite having only one person at a time in Iraq, the NZDF has made a significant contribution to the attainment of UN-mandated outcomes, he said.
"Those who have served in the mission can be justifiably proud of their individual contributions during their tours," he said.
"NZDF officers have been highly regarded in the mission for their ability to contribute effectively."
Although the Defence Force provided only one adviser at a time to the mission, with other nations' contributions meant there could be as many as 13 advisers there at once, including those from Australia, the United States, Canada, Nepal, United Kingdom, Denmark and Jordan.
- © Fairfax NZ News