Army thanks with open day

Nine-year-old twins Dominic (centre) and Shay (right) Mauger, of Oamaru, are swamped by New...
Nine-year-old twins Dominic (centre) and Shay (right) Mauger, of Oamaru, are swamped by New Zealand Army soldiers' kits and Steyr rifles during an open day at Centennial Park on Saturday, checked over by Private James Barnard (left) from Linton camp. Photo by David Bruce.
It was big and small boys' heaven when the army came to Oamaru on Saturday.

The New Zealand Army held an open day to thank the region for hosting a two-week exercise that had involved about 1100 personnel over the past three weeks.

Big and small girls were also fascinated by the equipment on display, which included a bomb-disposal robot and heat-seeking missiles.

The army exercise had been code-named Southern Reaper and was supported by Iroquois helicopters. It was to prepare troops and logistics support for service in East Timor, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands.

The exercise had ranged from Oamaru and Herbert Forest to Danseys Pass, Waimate and Tekapo, soldiers on town streets and the countryside along with artillery and other support a common sight.

Each of the companies involved in the exercise, from engineers to soldiers to logistical, including chefs and medical teams, brought something for the Oamaru open day.

There was a similar open day in Waimate.

The light-armoured vehicles, light and heavy machineguns, heat-seeking missiles, bomb disposal equipment and medical staff all had something to attract people. Weapons ranged from small arms to a 105mm howitzer.

Children were given parts of ration packs. Chocolate and face camouflage were the most popular.



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