TE WHATA, Darren Kavan
J1004326, Corporal, Royal New Zealand Aarmy Logistics Regiment

NZ Distinguished Service Decoration
Corporal Darren Te WHATA discovered a talent he didn't know he had in Afghanistan – not only could he refuel helicopters fleets with skill and
efficiency, he could teach a classroom of children.

What’s more, the kids were so impressed they asked if he could take them home to New Zealand with him.

The 28 year old, who was awarded a Distinguished Service Decoration in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, served as a petroleum operator with the NZ
PRT in Bamyan, Afghanistan. After completing the United States petroleum operator course at Bagram, he then established and led a helicopter
refuelling team, and completed more than 50 helicopter refuels during the tour.

As well as these primary duties, Corporal Te Whata began teaching English classes at the local school, and quickly found he had a flair for teaching.
“I went along with our padre, Captain McDonald, and our education officer, and the classes were at the local Women’s Development Centre.  “But
the classes included boys, and some of the girls didn't want to be with the boys, so I taught them in a separate class.” The girls, aged between seven
and 11, were eager to learn and fascinated about New Zealand. “I told them all about New Zealand, showed them pictures, and explained about life
here. They were fascinated by the green grass. They really wanted to learn as much as they could.”

NZ Distinguished Service Decoration
NZ Operational Service Medal
NZ East Timor Medal
NZ General Service Medal Afghanistan (Primary)
United Nations East Timor Medal (UNTAET)
NZ General Service Medal Solomon Islands
NZ Defence Service Medal