The intricacies of the Resource Management Act were swapped for Rules of Engagement when Duncan Cotterill’s leading Nelson specialist Camilla Owen visited the Solomon Islands to see her colleague, Lieutenant Andrew Thomas, in action at his ‘other job’ – as Territorial Force officer.
Duncan Cotterill gave Thomas, solicitor in Duncan Cotterill’s Nelson office, several months leave to pursue his passion with the Territorials. He is one of 43 New Zealand soldiers in the Solomon Islands.
Owen was part of group of 10 employers who took part in Exercise Boss Lift and who the New Zealand Defence Force flew over to the Solomon Islands for unique insight into how the Territorial Forces serve New Zealand.
She says it changed her perception of New Zealand’s place in the Pacific, in what they do and what they deliver, and being New Zealander.
“The work the New Zealand Army do is essentially nation-building … it made me really proud to be Kiwi. My perception of the Army has changed. It’s much less rigid than I imagined and there’s far more scope for being innovative. The Territorials are out there problem-solving and their simple actions have big political reactions,” she said.
During ‘Boss Lift,’ the employers tried on riot gear and went through crowd control drills, joined their soldiers on patrol, visited local villages and explored the Honiara area of operations and its surrounds.
Director-general of New Zealand Defence Force Reserves brigadier Tim Brewer says the intent of Boss Lift was to help develop an understanding and appreciation of the work of Reserve Force soldiers on overseas operations.
“We appreciate the huge commitment for employers to release valued staff for training and importantly, for operational deployment.
“Hopefully the bosses will see the leadership, confidence, teamwork and communication skills their employees developed in the Solomon Islands and the benefit that this will bring their organisations.”

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