November 8, 2018

NZDF Civilian of the Year Award presented to Narelle Silwood

Diligence, devotion to the task and passion for her work in support of the Anzac Frigate Systems Upgrade programme have won Narelle Silwood, DTA Operations Analyst, the New Zealand Defence Force Civilian of the Year award.

This week Narelle was presented the trophy by the New Zealand Defence Force’s Chief People Officer Liz Huckerby.

Chief People Officer Liz Huckerby presents Narelle Silwood with the NZDF Civilian of the Year Award

Chief People Officer Liz Huckerby presents Narelle Silwood with the NZDF Civilian of the Year Award

The new systems being installed into HMNZS TE MANA and TE KAHA are extremely complex and for these to be able to achieve their full operational potential a significant amount of automation is required to be pre-programmed into the Combat Management System. DTA were tasked to assist with the mapping process and Narelle was selected to lead this initiative; her primary focus for 2018 has been to support the Royal New Zealand Navy in developing its Mission Support Capability. Narelle has used her excellent interpersonal and communication skills to great effect and has conducted a significant number of stake holder engagement initiatives drawing upon a vast range of knowledge and understanding of the subject matter and then mapping it all out into easily digestible charts. Her work in support of the FSU programme is significant not only for the Navy, but to future NZDF operational capability.

Narelle absolutely epitomises the Navy Core values; Courage, in the manner she has progressed such a significant project with no guide to follow; Commitment in all of her actions and work ethic to achieving the specified objective and Comradeship which included engagement across all levels

In June 2018 the Naval Leadership Board approved the establishment of the Mission Support Capability and in September 2018 the first set of real world system files were delivered to Lockheed Martin Canada, far exceeding their expectations of what could be produced in such a short time. These achievements are a direct result of Narelle Silwood’s hard work, dedication to her role at DTA and in the wider NZDF, and belief in the art of the possible and it is for this that she is recognised as the New Zealand Defence Force Civilian of the Year 2018

Read the full citation [PDF: 71Kb, 1 page]

The NZDF Civilian of the Year trophy is a representation of a carved Taurapa –waka (canoe) stern post mounted on a wooden trophy base.

NZDF Civilian of the Year Trophy

NZDF Civilian of the Year Trophy – The Taurapa

The taurapa carving represents the story of Tāne (god of forests and birds) ascending the twelve heavens to obtain the three baskets of knowledge, kete tuauri (basket of peace, goodness and love) kete tūātea (basket of prayer, incantations and ritual), and kete aronui (basket of war, agriculture, wood, stone and earth work), in order to learn the secrets of life.

On the way his elder brother Whiro (evil) tries, unsuccessfully to disrupt Tāne’s journey.

The most prevalent image on the taurapa is the manaia, or avian-like creature seen grappling with two vertical rib forms representing the principles of life. The manaia is biting down on the tops of the two ribs, which represent ira-atua (the gods), and ira-tangata (humankind). The manaia is therefore symbolically battling the opposing notions of war and peace.

This taurapa can also be seen to represent the NZDF and the holder of this trophy as a leader in guiding the waka (NZDF). With the Rangatira (Chief) in front, the person(s) steering the waka would use the sternpost as a support and to brace against in assisting to maintain the direction required moving forward. The two ribs can also be seen as symbolic of the military (uniformed) and civilian components as two distinct but essential components in the journey of our New Zealand Defence Force.

Puhi Ariki

In 2017 the Puhi Ariki (upper feather streamer of a canoe stern) was added to the Taurapa and along with a kete (flax basket) were gifted to the New Zealand Defence Force by the first recipient Mr Selwyn Ponga-Davis as part of the overall trophy.

The meaning of the Puhi Ariki is provided below.

The puhi ariki enhances the ornate design of the Taurapa and encompases meaning significant to Te Ope Katua o Aotearoa (NZDF). Feathers on the Puhi Ariki recognise all three services and the civilian component of Te Ope Katua o Aotearoa.

The top feathers (sky blue) – This represents Tauaarangi, warriors of the sky. At the top of the Taurapa, Tauaarangi looks ahead of the waka providing overarching protection, warning of challenges and obstacles ahead.

The middle feathers (red and black) – represents Ngāti Tūmatauenga. God of war, hunting, food cultivation, fishing and cooking, clearing the pathway ahead.

The bottom feathers (navy blue) – representing the senior service, Tau Moana. The bottom feathers trail in the water thus connecting us to the sea gods, the guardians of the waka and its occupants (Te Ope Katua o Aotearoa)

The entwined feathers (purple) – our civilian whānau who support, enhance and enable all capabilities of the NZDF.