Agwi visits New Zealand military

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, June 29, 2011

THE Papua New Guinea Defence Force can learn a lot from New Zealand, says Brigadier General Francis Agwi.
He visited New Zealand to view its Defence Force developments which he hopes will guide the future development of the PNGDF, at the invitation  of the NZ Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones.
Agwi said NZDF was “a highly supportive and invaluable defence partner to PNG”.
He held strategic-level discussions with his counter-part, the Secretary of Defence (John McKinnon) and the NZDF Single Service chiefs.
He visited navy, land, and air units plus the Joint Force HQ and National Maritime Coordination Centre which manages the utilisation of the NZDF’s surface and air maritime surveillance assets.
“There are many aspects about the way the NZDF mans itself, organises, equips, and operates – often in conjunction with other government agencies – that provide readily transferable models for the PNGDF,” he said. 
“We identify quickly with the NZDF because it is closer in size to our own force.  And the connections are close and personal. We know each other well.”
Agwi said his close friendship with both Lt-Gen Jones and Rear Admiral Jack Steer (vice chief of Defence Force) was formed during their time together at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies in Canberra in 2003. 
He also had a look at the youth schemes run by the NZDF. 
“This initiative is especially transferable to PNG,” he said.
“With government support, the PNGDF could replicate these programmes to build values, personal qualities, and basic job skills to assist troubled youth in our country”.
Agwi also met the NZ Minister of Defence Dr Wayne Mapp and Lt Gen Sir Jerry Mateparae, a former Chief of Defence Force and Governor-General designate.