Tuesday, 21 July 2015

In Memoriam Major General (RDT) L J (Lou) Gardiner, ONZM

Former Chief of Army Lou Gardiner has died of cancer last Saturday.
Lou was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1952. He joined the New Zealand Army in 1971.Be graduated in 1975 he joined the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. In 1994, he was posted to the United Nations Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM). In late 1995 he returned to NZ, was promoted to Colonel and assumed the appointment of Chief of Staff, Support Command. In Dec 1997 he became the Director of Resource Policy and Plans in HQ NZDF. In December 1998, he was promoted Brigadier and assumed the appointment of Deputy Chief of Staff (DCGS). However, one week later he was appointed as the Land Commander. During his twelve months as Land Commander, he was appointed as Joint Commander for two operations. The first was the provision of support to the NZ Police Force during the security operations for APEC that was held in Auckland. The second was for the deployment and command of NZ forces to, and in East Timor. In December 1999, he was re-appointed to DCGS. In July 2000, he was appointed to the Chief Military Observers appointment in United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor (UNTAET) for twelve months. He returned to NZ in July 2001 and assumed his old appointment as DCGS. In December 2001 he was appointed as the NZ Defence Adviser to Australia. Lou was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his Operational Service in East Timor, on January 1st 2004. In November 2004 he was promoted to Major General and posted as Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.
On 1 May 2006 Major General Gardiner was appointed to the position of Chief of Army. A position he held until 1 May 2009. More recently Lou Gardiner was appointed the Chief Executive of Crimestoppers New Zealand.

Lou came to Belgium, and was in Passchendaele in 2007 for the 90th  anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and the remembrance services. We’ve got the honour to be his guests when we went to New Zealand in 2008 to prepare our traveling exhibition. He was very aware of the need to remember the sacrifice that has been brought by his forebears.
Lou talking with me,
hosting our party in Wellington 2008

One of my best friends in NZ, the former Belgian Consul in Christchurch wrote me this morning:
I personally will always remember Gen Lou for what he told me at the Dawn Service at Tyne Cot on 12 October 2007, I remember saying to Gen Lou that I understood that you were going elsewhere in Europe with your wife after the ANZAC weekend of 7 October and would therefore miss the Dawn Service of 12 October. I was very pleased to see him at the service and I will always remember very clearly what he said to me after the service. He said I need to be here on the 12th October at this service in my role of Chief of New Zealand Army to pay my personal respects and on behalf of NZ Army at this hallowed place. He then said it is very important to me that any soldier that is chosen to be Chief of NZ Army has visited the hallowed Battlefields of Flanders before taking up the role and I will be recommending that fact to my military superiors in Wellington.
from right to left: Lou, Judith, Willy Apiata VC
and Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae
October 2007 on Tyne Cot Cemetery Passchendaele
I know that Gen Lou was very moved by the experience of visiting the Battlefields of Flanders.
It is very sad that Gen Lou passed away from cancer at such a young age, such a shame because he would have had a lot more to contribute to New Zealand in the years ahead, may he Rest in Peace.
He leaves his wife Judith, children Matthew, Erin and Benjamin, and granddaughter Melanie
Our sincere condolences to Judith, the children , the family and the many friends

Rest in Peace

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