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Wairoa ANZAC Commemorations 2015

Wairoa's distinguished guests this year are Major Richard Tipler, representing the Australian High Commission and Group Captain Russell Sowden, representing the Royal New Zealand Air Force and New Zealand Defence Forces.


Major Tipler was born in South Africa. He moved to Zimbabwe with his parents and completed his Matriculation, before undertaking employment as a trainee Optical Dispenser and gaining a Fellowship of the British Dispensing Opticians. After migrating to the United Kingdom in 1990 he enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery. Subsequently he completed officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and graduated into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Aug 1991.

In 1995 as a Captain he was posted as Brigade Food Services Officer, 19 Mechanised Brigade. Here he honed skills in food services and as Brigade reconnaissance officer where he held the responsibility of Second in Command, Brigade Support Group. He was posted in 1998 as Second in Command, 43 Supply Squadron, 1 General Support Regiment, Germany and completed two operational tours. Subsequently, Major Tipler was selected to represent the British Army as the exchange officer with 2 Canadian Mechanised Brigade Group. In 2001 during this posting he was promoted to major and sub unit commander Supply and Transportation Company.

In Dec 2001 Major Tipler returned to England, taking up the position as Officer Commanding HQ Squadron, 27 Transport Regiment Royal Logistics Corps. On completion of a tour to Iraq, he posted to SO2 Logistic Support, HQ 145 Brigade, where his team advised on all logistic support issues for the Brigade.

He seized the opportunity to transfer to the Australian Army in Apr 2006, as Second in Command, Army School of Transport and Ordnance. Major Tipler has obtained extensive experience within the Australian Army and Joint environments, undertaking a range of regimental, staff and operational positions. Postings included Future Operations Planning at HQ 1 Division; Operations Officer for Joint Logistics Unit (North Queensland) and Preparedness Manager at Strategic Logistics Branch, Joint Logistics Command. In Jan 2015 he posted to HQ Deployable Joint Inter-Agency Task Force part of HQ Joint Forces New Zealand. In his current role as the deployable Logistics Staff Officer, he recently returned from Vanuatu as a member of the New Zealand team coordinating support post Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Major Tipler has undertaken four operational tours during his military career. Whilst serving in the British Army he deployed as Officer in Command of a Divisional Supply Area in Croatia/Bosnia; Operations Officer Force Support Squadron in Macedonia/Kosovo; and as Squadron Commander in the Composite Logistic Regiment in Kuwait and Iraq. Since joining the Australian Defence Force he has served as a Logistics Staff Officer supporting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Major Tipler was a keen rugby player gaining Corps colours while serving in Germany. Today his sporting interests focus on paragliding and skiing.

He and Evelyn married in Dec 1993. They have enjoyed travelling to many parts of Europe, Africa and North America and are currently seeking new experiences across Australia and New Zealand.


Group Captain Russell Sowden enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) on 15 January 1980 as an Aircraft Technician on the New Zealand Certificate of Engineering (NZCE) scheme. After completing this qualification and his 'apprenticeship', Group Captain Sowden was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Engineering Branch on 2 May 1985.

Since commissioning Group Captain Sowden has trained with the RAF at Cranwell in England, held a number of engineering command posts at RNZAF Base Auckland, Ohakea and Wigram and been employed in a number of staff roles in Air Staff, Wellington. Amongst these tours he has also had experience in contract liaison with Air New Zealand Engineering in Christchurch as the RNZAF Resident Engineering Officer, a tour in RNZAF Human Resources and a technical liaison and diplomatic tour in the New Zealand Embassy in Washington D.C. He also was seconded to Antarctica New Zealand and was employed as the Base Services Manager at Scott Base over the 1997/98 summer season.

Through the RNZAF Group Captain Sowden has completed a NZCE, Bachelor of Engineering Degree with Canterbury University and a postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Defence and Strategic Studies with Massey University.

At present Group Captain Sowden is in a Project Management role considering an improved operational training preparedness, evaluation and reporting system for the New Zealand Defence Force. He is married to Sara-Jane and has two children, Danielle (20) and Alexander (15).

The day's programme will proceed as follows (times are approx.):
5.00am: Arrive Kaiuku Marae, Mahia
5.15am: Dawn Parade
5.30am: Dawn Service
9.15am: Wreath laying at Rev. Henare Te Wainohu Monument (North Clyde)
(This is a private ceremony involving only the Official party)
9.30am: Service at Taihoa Marae
10.30am: Wreath laying at the Wairoa Cemetery
(This is a private ceremony involving only the Official party)
11.15am – 12.15pm: Parade and Civic Service, War Memorial Hall
12.15pm: Wreath laying at War Memorial Hall

28 June 2018

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