Lieutenant-colonel Amanda Brosnan, of Dunedin, is the first
woman in New Zealand to be appointed commanding officer of
a reserve infantry battalion, and is excited about leading
the recently amalgamated South Island reserve force 2/4
RNZIR. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A Dunedin woman is New Zealand's first female commanding
officer of a reserve infantry battalion.
Lieutenant-colonel Amanda Brosnan (48) was officially
appointed Commanding Officer of 2/4 RNZIR (Royal New Zealand
Infantry Regiment) during a charter parade in Christchurch
She will remain based in Dunedin, but regularly travel to the
Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch to lead the recently
amalgamated South Island reserve force.
Lt-col Brosnan said it was exciting to set a precedent for
other women in the army, which like many other organisations
sometimes struggled to recruit and retain high-ranking female
Challenges in her role included uniting the 280-odd reserves,
who until recently were divided as members of rival
battalions, she said.
''Both former units were very strong in their individual
cultures, and naturally competed to be the best battalion in
the South Island. They've been amalgamated for a year now,
and although a lot of work has been done to develop the new
entity there is still work to do.''
The battalion has headquarters at Burnham and sub-units in
Invercargill, Dunedin, Timaru, Christchurch, Nelson and
Lt-col Brosnan said her main objective was to ensure reserves
were trained appropriately and ready for deployment, either
overseas or to replace regular soldiers deployed overseas.
It was important for reserves to have solid support from
communities and employers, she said.
''It takes a lot of commitment to be a reserve because you're
giving up your free time, your leisure time, to serve. Part
of my role is to make sure they get the opportunities and
rewards that come from training.''
Lt-col Brosnan grew up in Dunedin and went to Moreau College
and the University of Otago.
She joined the Royal New Zealand Army in January 1990 and
from December that year until September 2007 served as a
regular force officer, first in the Royal New Zealand Signals
then in the New Zealand Intelligence Corps.
She attended the Military College of Science in the United
Kingdom in 2002 and 2003, where she trained as an operations
analyst, before working in research and experimentation of
future army concepts and doctrine.
She retired from the regular force in September 2007 and
moved back to Dunedin in April 2008.
In September she returned from a six-month deployment in
Afghanistan, where she was stationed in Kabul as a military
adviser for the United Nations Assistance Mission in
Her task was to help civilian mission staff, from Afghanistan
and around the world, to understand military operations
Lt-col Brosnan is studying law at Otago and has five children
with her husband Godfrey, a former soldier.