After decades of occupation by neighbouring South Africa and nearly 25 years of fighting, Namibia (formerly South-West Africa) achieved independence in 1990. Support came from the United Nations Transition Assistance Group set up for this purpose. The first New Zealanders to take part were police, who arrived in 1989. They were part of a multinational force that worked with the Namibian police to monitor local activity, while undertaking other tasks including voter registration. Later that year a contingent of New Zealand Army engineers joined an Australian unit. They checked that roads were clear of mines, destroyed weapons and took part in construction. Sapper Brent Wilson is shown here with an artillery shell which was to be destroyed. The New Zealanders returned home in 1990.
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