Christmas in the Middle East
Wayne Wanakore has been on numerous deployments in the past with the NZ Army including Singapore, Bosnia, East Timor and Iraq.
Last Tuesday, November 13 he was deployed once again to the Middle East where situations change on a daily basis. Wayne and a small team of Kiwi soldiers will play a significant role in the current NATO Operation in Afghanistan.
He said it is an operation that New Zealand has been a part of since 2011 and has recently been given an extension by the Government until late 2019.
“Without going into to much detail, the mission is similar to what I have done for most of my career — train soldiers and officers in all aspects of war, the same skills, ethos and values we teach our NZ Defence Force personnel.”
Getting on in years Wayne thought he would have been passed over by the Army because of his age but he managed to meet all the pre-requisites for the role including fitness, skills and experience to edge out many other personnel who had put in nominations.
“I am proud to represent my wha¯ nau and country again on operations and am honoured to have been chosen.”
Wayne’s recent role has been as a trainer with 3/6 RNZIR Army Reserves. This unit is an amalgamation of the 3rd Auckland Regiment and the 6th Hauraki Regiment back in 2011.
Before joining the Regular Force (RF) Army Wayne was a soldier of the 6th Hauraki — its history runs throughout the cities of Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakata¯ ne, Hamilton and Tokoroa.
“The Army Reserves are where most RF soldiers start their careers,” Wayne says.
“I recommend it to any young or middle-aged male or female to give a go.
“It is rewarding and challenging, you get to meet friends for life and share some exciting experiences that you can not get anywhere else.
Wayne and wife Renee have four children — Riana, Maraea, Tamati and Isobel. He said he always seeks the support of his family before committing to a deployment.
After many years away on missions, Renee continues to keep the family going with the arduous and at times challenging tasks of tending to family business on her own.
The girls being older now are expected to help around the house and support her.
“My son, who is three, is able to get away with a lot more than his sisters but will still be required to pick up his toys.
“It doesn’t get any easier the more deployments I go on, leaving family is always hard.”
Wayne’s deployment takes him away from home in Katikati for nine months. It is longer than the usual six months he is used to.
“But that’s the way it goes. I will miss important events like Christmas and my daughters’ birthdays.
“My own birthday will be spent away but that is not the first time for me.
“To my Mum – I love you to the moon and back!
To my wife Renee, no words can express my love for you and our children except, forever! To my sisters, thank you for keeping the home fires burning, And to my girls, be good.”
“See you all at Paeahi Wanakore’s unveiling in August 2019!
Noreira, tenei te mihi ki a koutou, Tena koutou katoa.
Wayne Wanakore with wife Renee, daughters Isobel, Riana and Maraea before he left for Afghanistan.