NZ Defence medals for Bougainville service

3:11 pm on 23 February 2017

New Zealand defence and foreign affairs personnel who served at peace talks in Bougainville in 1990 are now eligible for the Operational Service Medal.

08062016 Photo: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King. Defence White Paper Launch at Parliment in Wellington. LTGEN Tim Keating, Chief of Defence Force New Zealand speaks.

Lieutenant General Tim Keating Photo: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

As the Papua New Guinea province descended into civil war in 1990, three New Zealand navy ships were deployed to serve as a venue for peace talks, known as Operation Big Talk.

The Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, said the service by those who contributed to the talks meets the risk threshold to be awarded a medal.

He said about 400 people served on the mission, and the medal is an appropriate way to recognise their contribution to the peace effort in Bougainville.

The conflict was eventually resolved seven years later when New Zealand helped broker a peace agreement between the warring factions, which culminates in a referendum on possible independence in 2019.

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