A soldier watches the amphibious landing of NZ Army vehicles on Southern Katipo 15

What is Exercise Southern Katipo?

Exercise Southern Katipo is New Zealand’s largest military exercise, held every two years in varying parts of New Zealand.

When is it happening?

Exercise Southern Katipo 17 (SK17) will run from the first week of October until mid-November 2017.

Where is the exercise taking place?

The Exercise is being held in the Marlborough, Kaikoura, Tasman, Nelson and Buller regions. Westport, Greymouth, Nelson Lakes, Kaikoura, Ward and the Marlborough Sounds will become the troubled Becara region.

Continuing on from the scenario used for Ex Southern Katipo 15, Becara is still suffering from political instability and unrest and New Zealand has been requested to assemble and lead an Intervention Force comprising a coalition of Pacific Island Forum Member States.

Who’s taking part?

Soldiers from Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Brunei, Malaysia and Timor Leste will be taking an active part in the exercise alongside New Zealand with small contingents from Australia, Canada, USA, France and Britain also taking part.

What can I expect to see?

The main contingent will arrive at Blenheim Airport in military fixed wing transport aircraft, such as the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130H Hercules. You may also see a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster and a Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules parachuting loads onto selected drop zones in the exercise area. The RNZAF's NH90 and A109 helicopters will be based out of Omaka Airfield.

There’ll be a number of Navy Ships off the coast between Kaikoura and the Marlborough Sounds as other elements of the contingent arrive by sea over the beach in Okiwi Bay and across the wharf at Picton.

This element of the contingent will have Army trucks, Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs), the Medium Heavy Operational Vehicle (MHOV) and Light Operational Vehicles (LOVs). 

Once the contingent has established itself in various locations throughout Marlborough, you'll see regular day and night patrols conducted by soldiers either on foot or in vehicles.

How can I get involved in the exercise?

Members of the public will have the opportunity to get up close and personal to some of the activities, and information about that will be made available closer to the Exercise dates.

How can I find out more?

You can keep up to date with the exercise on the official New Zealand Defence Force social media channels:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram: @nzdefenceforce | Snapchat: @nzdefenceforce

You can also join our NZDF Community Alerts  Facebook group to subscribe to our public alerts and the Facebook event page: http://bit.ly/SouthernKatipo-FB.

Check out these factsheets to see what's happening in your area:

This page was last amended on 06 July 2018