More Kiwis arrive home from riot torn New Caledonia

Dozens of New Zealanders evacuated from riot torn New Caledonia have arrived safely in Auckland earlier this morning

A Defence Force flight carrying 50 New Zealanders from Brisbane arrived at 2am after they were flown out of the French territory on board a French-operated flight.

Details of further repatriation flights are still to be confirmed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there are still more than 270 New Zealanders wanting to leave Nouméa.

Pacific Islands Forum chairperson and Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown told Morning Report the period of political unrest was “deeply concerning” for the forum family.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown

Brown said he offered his condolences to those affected, and to those who had lost their lives.

He called for peace and order to prevail so “genuine dialogue” could be engaged in.

Brown said all members of the Pacific Islands Forum were former colonies so he could understand the desire for independence.

But there needed to be a proper sit down face-to-face conversation.

Violence should be the last resort, he said.

Brown said he remained open to discussions with the president of New Caledonia, to discuss issues further and reassure support.

It was not a new issue – but one difficult to go away without proper dialogue and discussion, he said.

The first repatriation flight landed at Auckland International Airport on Tuesday night.

Chris and Mike Riley were arriving back from New Caledonia from what was meant to be a week-long trip.

Chris Riley said they heard lots of explosions, fireworks and gunfire from where they were.

“We were in a lovely place actually, it was quite peaceful, but we were trapped because we couldn’t get through because of all the troubles that were there,” she said.

Mike Riley said they were both relieved to be home.

“We’re not in a hurry to go anywhere apart from Kerikeri,” he said.

Carl was in a tourist area of New Caledonia for the past two weeks, which he said was sheltered from the riots.

He said it felt great to get on the Defence Force flight.

“It was a bit of a different type of trip back to New Zealand, but it was fun.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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