About 100 New Zealand Defence Force troops returned to New Zealand on Saturday night after the latest tour of duty in Iraq.
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Vice Chief of Defence Force Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short were at Christchurch Airport to welcome home the third rotation of New Zealand troops.
“Welcome home and a big thank you to all of you,” Short said.
“You have done an outstanding job in training and building the confidence of Iraqi soldiers. You have also continued the good work of previous contingents.”
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said New Zealand’s training mission had helped the Iraqi military increase the skills and numbers of its fighters.
“Having capable fighters is critical in sustaining the Iraqi military’s counter-offensive campaign against (Isis). Many of the forces we helped train are on the front line. It is a tough fight but with the help of the Coalition, the Iraqi military is winning,
The identities of the personnel remained secret to protect them and their families.
New Zealand has been involved in training Iraqi troops fighting Isis since May 2015.
The fourth rotation of 106 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) soldiers deployed in mid-November alongside around 300 Australian Defence Force personnel.
In June 2016, the New Zealand government announced that it has extended the NZDF contribution to the BPC training mission until November 2018.