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Construction begins on NZDF/MFAT leadership centre in Tonga

Construction of Tonga’s Pacific Leadership Development Centre at His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) Masefield Naval Base, Nuku’alofa, has begun.

The Leadership Centre is funded by a joint New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) initiative and will provide a location for HMAF leadership training, meetings and talanoa (conversation).

The $NZ5.2 million centre will incorporate a fale-inspired conference centre, and classrooms and staff facilities. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

The HMAF Leadership Centre is the second of four centres that the NZDF and MFAT are funding in the Pacific region.

“The first, the Kumul Leadership Centre at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea opened in April and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force has been making full use of it since then,” said Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Milward, Programme Principal for the Pacific Leader Development Programme (PLDP).

The final two centres will be built in Fiji and Vanuatu, in support of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and Vanuatu Mobile Force.

The Leadership Centres are a component of the NZDF-led and co-MFAT funded Pacific Leader Development Programme which commenced in June 2019.

The programme supports the military forces of Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, and the Vanuatu Police Force, in the development of bespoke leadership frameworks and the delivery of different levels of leadership training for their personnel.

Lieutenant Colonel Milward said that the number of personnel who are completing leadership training was increasing rapidly.

“Over the past three years the NZDF has supported the training of about 2500 leaders across all four nations, with 327 of those being in Tonga, ranging from Lead Self through to Lead Organisation levels.”

Each nation’s Leadership Framework is based on the NZDF Leadership Framework, but incorporates each nation’s specific values and culture.

The NZDF provides advanced design, development, delivery and facilitation training support for each nation’s leadership programme through a team of six NZDF Institute for Leader Development personnel based at Trentham Military Camp.

Senior uniformed NZDF personnel, with the role of Technical Advisor – Leadership Mentors, will also be seconded to each country for a period of three years.

“As a result of the programme, Tonga, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji are collaborating for an exciting and innovative future in leader development that will be of increasing benefit for all five nations,” Lieutenant Colonel Milward said.