Christmas goodies to remind overseas troops of home

NZ Defence Force personnel and RSA volunteers have packed Christmas parcels for New Zealand troops posted overseas > Marmite and Bluebird potato chips will be among Christmas goodies for Kiwi forces overseas this Christmas.

In a tradition going back more than 90 years, 500 parcels have been packed with treats to remind military personnel serving overseas, of the small joys of home. The parcels, which also include Anzac biscuits, were packed at the Naval Reserve Base in Wellington earlier this week by defence force staff and Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association volunteers.

They will be sent around the world to 13 countries, including Afghanistan, Antarctica, East Timor, Solomon Islands and the Sinai. The RSA began the tradition of sending parcels to troops overseas during the First World War.

“Opening one of these parcels brings a small part of New Zealand to those troops who are away from their families at Christmas,” commander joint forces New Zealand, Rear Admiral Jack Steer said. “I am extremely proud of the work our personnel are doing overseas and I hope that seeing the reminders of home will bring them all a smile on Christmas Day,” he said.

One of the packers was New Zealand Army Captain Alistair Rankin who got Christmas parcels when he served in Singapore in the late 1970s and Cambodia as part of the mine action centre in 2004. “You go for months without the comforts of home so to receive parcels like these at Christmas is a real morale booster.”

New Zealand had 771 personnel deployed overseas and about 500 would be deployed over the Christmas period.