The soldier who died in a training accident in Auckland last night has been named as Lance Corporal Nicholas Kahotea, 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment.
Lance Corporal Kahotea joined the New Zealand Army on 25 January 2006 as a Royal New Zealand Engineer, with an initial posting to the 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment as a specialist searcher in 2008.
He successfully completed NZSAS selection and was badged as an NZSAS operator in December 2014.
He served in Afghanistan, and was awarded the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM), New Zealand Defence Service Medal (NZDSM), New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM) and NATO ISAF (Afghanistan) Medal.
He will be remembered as a professional soldier, a father and friend to many.
New Zealand’s Chief of Army Major General John Boswell said Lance Corporal Kahotea was a consummate professional who was known for his dedication and reliability – always upholding the Army’s core values in every endeavour.
“He was an outstanding soldier and a top bloke,” Major General Boswell said.
“I know that his family, friends and colleagues will be keenly feeling the loss and we offer our deepest condolences.”
“The New Zealand Defence Force offers its deepest sympathy to Lance Corporal Kahotea’s family and will extend its full support services to them.”
An investigation into the accident, on behalf of the Coroner, is underway.
The exercise, which was being carried out in conjunction with United States forces, is currently suspended.