East Timor remembers NZDF Contribution to Lasting Peace

By Bronson Perich

The NZDF is preparing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the INTERFRET (International Force East Timor) deployment to stabilise East Timor.

What started as a mission of 10 NZDF and 10 NZ Police to support the East Timor referendum would become the NZDF’s largest deployment since the Korean War.

The violence that erupted as a result of the referendum would cause the UN to step up its efforts and extend its mission by sending INTERFRET.  Australia and NZ would be the biggest contributors, sending a total of 5,500 and 1,200 personnel respectively.

The mission would finish in 2002, with the NZDF returning on various missions to work with East Timorese government and military.