New Zealand soldier Private Dayne Hunt-Irvine has just returned from a four-month deployment to the Solomon Islands, supporting the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.The former Christchurch Boys' High School student, who is based at Burnham Military Camp, said one of the highlights of his deployment was a training patrol to Savo Island, one of the outer islands.
"The jungle training was good, we got some good training out of it. It was real hot and humid,'' he said.
"Savo was real good too, stopping off at the villages and chilling out with the locals and the kids, it was real cool."
Private Hunt-Irvine said the biggest challenge of the deployment was dealing with the heat.
"The hardest part has been acclimatising, I still get ridiculously hot even after being here for four months. I'm still not used to it.''
It was his first deployment.
"It's been good. I was so looking forward to it. It's been great to get the experience of being on a deployment.''
Private Hunt-Irvine was looking forward to seeing his family and catching up with friends. He now has a baby sister who was born while he was on deployment.
"I can't wait to meet her,'' he said.
The 45 personnel from 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment and supporting units, worked alongside Australian Defence Force, Papua New Guinea and Tongan military personnel as part of the mission's military contingent.
The mission in the Solomon Islands has changed significantly since the Defence Force first assisted the mission in 2003.
There has been a reducing requirement in recent years for the military to play a direct role in maintaining law and order and the aim is for the military to withdraw during 2013.