An RNZAF C-130 Hercules is loaded with equipement by Air Movements and Loadmaster personnel. Photo / Supplied
A 100-strong Defence Force contingent, including healthcare specialists have arrived in Samoa as part of Exercise Tropic Twilight 2012.
The programme is to run from today until August 20.
A Forward Surgical Team (FST) will set up and run independently out of tented accommodation, replicating how it would operate in a disaster relief situation.
The FST is planning to conduct about 40 minor surgeries. A team of healthcare specialists will conduct medical outreach programmes in remote locations in Samoa, and a small engineer element will support the FST and assist with minor repairs to Samoan health facilities.
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Twiss said helping New Zealand's Pacific partners to prepare and respond to natural disasters was crucial.
"It is a big challenge for the contingent to project into another country, to set up a FST which has a unique mix of military and civilian personnel, and deliver a range of healthcare services in a short timeframe, but that is exactly the scenario in a real disaster situation. The whole contingent is very much looking forward to the challenge.''