National | Māori

Māori role in helping Timor Leste gain independence

The memorial plaque at the New Zealand Embassy in Dili commemorating the men who lost their lives.  Pictured: Rangi Maniapoto (back, centre) and Anaru George (right). Photo/File

Twenty years ago Timor Leste, an island north of Australia, became Asia's newest nation. A UN referendum helped gain its independence from Indonesia in 1999, but the lead-up to this was marked by death and anarchy.

Between 1999 and 2002, New Zealand deployed over 6,000 personnel to Timor-Leste, including police, customs and corrections officers - and many of them were Māori.

Te Ao with Moana went to Timor Leste to commemorate the part a Māori policeman Rangi Maniapoto, who volunteered as a UN peacekeeper, and others played in gaining independence for the country.

While there we also spoke with a Māori police officer Anaru George presently based in Timor Leste, who has spent almost a year there carrying out Community Policing, a New Zealand Aid Programme.

After the unveiling of a memorial plaque at the New Zealand Embassy in Dili, we spoke to Ron Mark, our Minister of Defence.

Part 1 - Rangi Maniapoto (UN Peacekeeper)

Part 2 - Anaru George (Community Policing)

Part 3 - Ron Mark (Minister of Defence)