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

New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
Queen's Birthday Honours List 2007
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.”

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