Māori role in helping Timor Leste gain independence

By Te Ao with MOANA
The memorial plaque at the New Zealand Embassy in Dili commemorating the men who lost their lives.  Pictured: Rangi Maniapoto (back, centre) and Anaru George (right). Photo/File

Twenty years ago Timor Leste, an island north of Australia, became Asia's newest nation. A UN referendum helped gain its independence from Indonesia in 1999, but the lead-up to this was marked by death and anarchy.

Between 1999 and 2002, New Zealand deployed over 6,000 personnel to Timor-Leste, including police, customs and corrections officers - and many of them were Māori.

Te Ao with Moana went to Timor Leste to commemorate the part a Māori policeman Rangi Maniapoto, who volunteered as a UN peacekeeper, and others played in gaining independence for the country.

While there we also spoke with a Māori police officer Anaru George presently based in Timor Leste, who has spent almost a year there carrying out Community Policing, a New Zealand Aid Programme.

After the unveiling of a memorial plaque at the New Zealand Embassy in Dili, we spoke to Ron Mark, our Minister of Defence.

Part 1 - Rangi Maniapoto (UN Peacekeeper)

Part 2 - Anaru George (Community Policing)

Part 3 - Ron Mark (Minister of Defence)